by Darius Oliver
Radio NZ are reporting that golfers and locals in New Zealand are outraged at the New Plymouth District Council’s plan to sell off land occupied by the Fitzroy Golf Club.
The sale is expected to yield council around $50 million, but will halve the 83-year old golf courses current 38 hectare site and risk the future of around 250 golfing members. The club leases the land from the District Council, and only has around five and a half years left on its lease.
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Golfers and neighbours are aghast at a council proposal to sell off half of a public golf course in New Plymouth.
Club president Mike Earley said at a recent meeting the mayor had reiterated that desire.
"He called us into his office and he said 'I won't beat about the bush. This is the situation: we'd like to sell off half your golf course to raise money for the New Plymouth district. How do you feel?'
"And of course my answer was 'horribly disappointed'."
Mr Earley said slicing up the municipal course would be a huge loss to the wider community.
"It's a greenbelt isn't it, and it's not just a golf course. People walk their dogs through it because it's a municipal council-owned property. They throw frisbees down on our practice area.
"So, yes, I'd say the public and the general population of Fitzroy area are going to be horrified by it."
Life member Denis Rowe, 87, was enjoying a round of 18 holes with a couple of mates this morning.
Mr Rowe was unimpressed with idea of a housing development on the course.
"Well I've played here for about 60 years and I think it is not on at all."
And Mr Rowe said he did not buy the argument the money would be used to offset rates increases.
"I'm not worried about the rates. They save on that and then they go and spend $70 million on the useless airport expansion."
Mr Rowe's golfing buddy Warren Seastrand also said he thought the mayor was off the mark.
"I think it's a myopic decision, a triumph for the beancounters rather than promoting recreation.
Neither golfer was keen on the idea of a nine-hole course.
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