By Doug CONNOR
THE drama and mystery surrounding the development of the oceanfront courses on Sanderling Avenue, Hawks Nest continued this week, with the revelation that former world number one golfer Greg Norman could play a key role in the development.
A spokesperson for Core Leric (a partnership between Core Property Development Pty Ltd and Leric Group Pty Ltd), which owns the land on Sanderling Avenue, told News Of The Area: âCore Leric has entered into advanced negotiations with representatives of GNGCD (Greg Norman Golf Course Design), which is the golf course construction design and development arm of the Greg Norman business organization.
âThere are indications that the interests of the different parties involved are aligned.
âThis authority is confirmed in correspondence with GNGCD and their representatives, not yet released, but should be contracted in the short term.
“Further confirmations are expected to be released shortly.”
According to a press release provided to News Of The Area by Core Leric, parties involved believe that the Sanderling Avenue course has “enormous potential to transform the property into a world-class golf residence.”
Mr. Norman has designed more than 100 golf courses in 34 countries.
Core Leric’s statement states that parties are committed to working with all relevant stakeholders throughout the DA process to produce an outcome that is both âbeautiful and practicalâ.
They said the artist’s impression of the development shown on Four Corners was “misinformed.”
Core Leric and GNGCD said the development would not be visible from the beach.
Obeid Inc, the Four Corners program that showcased the planned development to a national audience, claimed links between the land development and corrupt former politician Eddie Obeid and his family.
In his statement to media, Core Leric said the Four Corners program wrongly linked land ownership and local councilor Len Roberts to the Obeid family, causing great suffering and heartache in the community.
MidCoast advisor Len Roberts said he didn’t know the developers’ end goal when he sold the land as CEO of the Karuah Local Aboriginal Land Council.
âAt no time did I know who the buyers were, other than what was written on the contract.
âThey were just names.
“The golf club board in 2016 told me that it was not in a financial position to buy the land and (asked) the Karuah land board would sell it to their joint venture partner which he accepted through an expression of interest process. “
The outrage over the planned development has been evident in local social media groups since the release of the Four Corners program, with locals fearing that the development could set a precedent for the city’s large-scale development.
Based on Mr Norman’s record of golf-related developments around the world, Mr Roberts believes any development undertaken by his company would be “appropriate” for the region.
“There is no DA before the Council, so I cannot comment on something that I have not seen,” Mr Roberts said.
âThe council set the height limit and it must be below the benchmark (Cnr Booner and Bennett St, Hawks Nest) on the beach and have the same average, not high zoning density.
âThe Golf Club parking lot and clubhouse have the same zoning,â he said.
âAll development proposals must be considered on merit and meet the strategic zoning requirements.
âWe already have a mid-density development at Hawks Nest.
âI led the charge to council to deny such a development very recently at Booner Street, Hawks Nest only to have it amended and approved by the Land and Environment Court.
âThe land at Hawks Nest is zoned low density residential, medium density residential and small commercial pockets.
âSome lands have appropriate environmental zoning. “
Having lived in the area for 30 years, Mr Roberts said change is inevitable, but must be managed well.
âI remember the fights for the construction of Bi-Lo, Myall Quays, the Grange and the Hermitage, the skatepark, the upgrade of Marine Drive, the Arts and Crafts Center, the new library , obtaining the Bridge Club land, placing pelican spikes on the singing bridge to avoid the risk of pelican poo, and especially the children’s play areas.
“I could list more, but these things are just examples of the change we needed and now accept as our way of life,” said Mr. Roberts.
Kathy Poldmaa and Shane Andrews are the directors of the Hawks Nest Development Facebook group.
Since the Four Corners episode aired, the group has grown to include over 1,100 members.
The group’s philosophy is simple.
âWe support good development that benefits the community and respects the zoning put in place by the Council.
âGood development will always benefit the community,â Shane said.
Kathy and Shane, and the thousands of online petitioners, argue that any large-scale development is inappropriate for the Sanderling Avenue site.
âThe subject land at 1 Sanderling Avenue is a sensitive coastal land between the current golf club and Hawks Nest Beach.
âLarge-scale developments are unsuitable and inappropriate for this plot of land, due to the environmental and visual impacts.
âThis will detract from the natural and unspoiled coastal character of Hawks Nest, which attracts both tourists and residents.
“I think it will be the ‘thin edge of the corner’.”
With the high demand for affordable housing options in the Hawks Nest / Tea Gardens area being a growing problem, Shane does not believe the proposed development will effectively meet the need.
âConsidering that Hawks Nest has a higher percentage of vacation properties than permanent resident properties, I fail to see how building a resort style apartment complex will meet the ‘residential market needs’ of those wishing to s ‘settle and live permanently at Hawks Nest.
âThis is not the type of housing development needed or wanted to solve the Hawks Nest housing crisis.
âWhat we need are family homes, not more vacation apartments,â Shane said.
Core Leric’s press release said: âIt should be understood that the land is only 1.4 ha and is already appropriately zoned to the average density R3, which is common with neighboring and existing properties. at Hawks Nest.
“In addition, the development will not be visible from the beach and it will encourage a feeling of healthy and active living, with many green spaces that become one with the surrounding environment.”
Shane said the zoning of the land was a controversial issue within the community.
The MidCoast Council voted to change the zoning from RE1 Public Recreation to R3 Medium Density Residential in April 2021, increasing the maximum allowed construction height on the land in question from 8.5m to 12m, among other changes.
âI note that the R3 zoning is currently not approved and is still in conflict with the larger community.
âThe community is looking to have this amended at the NSW state government level, the R3 zoning will allow the overdevelopment of these sensitive coastal lands,â Shane said.
At MidCoast’s regular board meeting on April 28, 2021, when board voted to rezone the land, board had received 74 submissions regarding the proposed land development adjacent to the Hawks Nest Golf Club.
Of the 74 submissions, 65 opposed the proposal, 8 supported the proposal and 1 submission was not relevant to the proposal.
Kathy Poldmaa and Shane Andrews also outlined the next steps concerned community members can take to make their voices heard on development heard.
âIn addition to the change.org petition, we also need to send a message to the Parliament of New South Wales, the Government of New South Wales.
âThe e-petition to the New South Wales Parliament calls on the Planning Minister to use his powers to change zoning for public recreation.
âIf more than 20,000 signatures are obtained, the petition must be debated in Parliament.
If we get a lot more, the better.
“Any resident of NSW can sign this petition in Parliament.”
The petition is available on www.parliament.nsw.gov.au/la/pages/epetition-details.aspx?q=Q5yp6XawwylkL7pHY788aA==