STATEMENT: Zali Steggall MP comments on the need to extend the consultation period for the proposed use of the Balgowlah Golf Club

1 February 2024

Zali Steggall MP comments on the need to extend the consultation period for the proposed use of the Balgowlah Golf Club

The Northern Beaches and Lower North Shore currently face a notable shortage of sporting fields. The Balgowlah Boys School, students, families, P&C, staff, and broader local community had been promised a redevelopment of the Balgowlah Golf Course into playing fields and public open space as part of the Beaches Link Tunnel project. However, as this infrastructure project has now been shelved by the State Government, it appears so too has the redevelopment of the golf course.

There has been no clear public announcement, to the broader community, that as a result of the Beaches Link Tunnel being shelved, the redevelopment of this space would not go ahead. The local community and the Balgowlah Boys P&C have come to me, as they believe this decision neglects the interests of the school, its students, families, the P&C and the broader community. Their concern has been particularly focused on the timing of the consultation as it was done over the Christmas and January holidays whilst most people were away. They indicated that they felt blindsided by the Golf Club’s application for the 5-year lease and the Council’s notice of consideration of this application.

Balgowlah Boys stands out not only as one of the top-performing Government schools in the State, but also as a school in dire need of facility upgrades to reflect the incredible work of school staff and the boys’ achievements. The Lower North Shore and Northern beaches is home to eight public golf courses & driving ranges and an additional eight private courses (some with public access). It is essential to balance the broader needs of the community. We must assess how we can maximise public space utilisation to benefit the largest number of people effectively.

In efforts to address this situation, I engaged in a discussion with the Northern Beaches Council yesterday. They expressed openness to extending the consultation period beyond the summer break period when many in the school community were away and unaware of the lease application. The extension of time ensures a more inclusive and fair consultation process that allows a broader segment of the community to provide valuable feedback to council on the best
use of this valuable open space.