Struggling golf club takes swing at housing developer

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DISPUTE: An image from a Shortland Waters seniors living promotional video showing houses next to the golf course. The golf club says it may not survive until new holes at the course open next year. Shortland Waters Golf Club says the company building a retirement village in the middle of its coursehas shown a “total lack of empathy” by declining to help the club overcome its financial difficulties.
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The club hasgone into voluntary administration and is seeking another club to merge withafter two years of building work at the course has discouraged golfers and left it with acash-flow crisis.

Belmont Golf Club lodged an expression of interest in a merger –it would effectively be a takeover –but said in a letter to members last week that it had withdrawn after examining Shortland Waters’ “financial position and the arrangements regarding the seniors living project on their course”.

Aveo, the company behind the $220 million retirement village, said in a Herald reporton Saturday that it would “not be a candidate” to take over managing the course.

The company is building new holes and a new clubhouse in a deal which rescued the club from financial difficulty two years ago.

“Aveo has previously provided $8.5 million in financial support to completethe Shortland Waters golf clubhouse and new course holes,” a spokesperson said in Saturday’s report.

But the volunteers who run the golf club said on Tuesday that the $8.5 million was not “financial support” but part of a $10.7 million land-sale agreement with Aveo.

Struggling golf club takes swing at housing developer UNDER CONSTRUCTION: New holes being built next to the old part of the Shortland Waters course.

New holes under construction next to the old part of the course.

The six new holes under construction next to the old part of the course.

The Aveo retirement village, top right, under construction in the middle of the old part of the course.

WORK IN PROGRESS: New holes under construction next to the old part of the Shortland Waters course. The club hopes its fortunes turn around when the holes open early next year.

New holes under construction next to the old part of the course.

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“The club detailed the impact the delays with the development was having in July 2017, but no formal response was received.

“It should be noted there are no delays to the village development works program to our knowledge.”

They said Aveo’smarketing of the retirement village featured the golf course “prominently”.

Aveo said last week thatit “recognises that the decision by Shortland Waters Golf Course to enter voluntary administration reflects a wider decline of the golf course industry”.

Mr Duggan has raised the prospect of the course being sold off to a developer if the golf club goes bust.

The volunteers’ letter said Aveo had a caveat over the entire course which “effectively gives them first mortgage over the club’s land”, and this had prevented the club from securing a line of credit to keep paying its operating costs.

“The survival of a community asset is at stake and the golfing community and general public should be alert to the fact that Aveo is the only winner in the event of the demise of Shortland Waters,” the letter reads.

“The Aveo caveat effectively gives them first right to secure and landbank the property for future development.”

The Herald approached Aveo on Tuesday afternoon for comment.

Letter from Belmont Golf Club president Lyn Cooper to Belmont members last week:

You will be aware that our Club submitted an Expression of Interest (EOI) for amalgamation with Shortland Waters Golf Club.

As part of the EOI we received confidential information about Shortland Waters Golf Club’s financial position and the arrangements regarding the Seniors Living project on their course.

Representatives of our Board met with the Administrator and members of the Board of Shortland Waters to discuss a possible amalgamation of the two Clubs.

After due consideration of all the facts available and advice from our accountants PKF we have decided not to proceed any further with this matter.

We thank Shortland Waters Golf Club for the opportunity to discuss the possible amalgamation and wish them well in their endeavours to secure the future of their Club.

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