August 12, 2022

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Northcote Golf Course to be retained by golfers after Darebin council votes against curfew

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Darebin City Council has rejected a proposal to open the Northcote Golf Course to the community after 3pm, meaning golfers will retain full access to the nine-hole course.

The motion was passed at a council meeting on Monday night, with five councillors voting in favour and four voting against the move to allow golf to be played on the land seven days a week.

In an address at the meeting, Darebin Mayor Lina Messina described the decision as a success for the community.

“The 3pm curfew amendment last May was to address a briefing only. It was not something that was going to be considered further in this chamber,” she said.

“Option A [to keep the course for golf seven days a week] is a win, it is a middle ground, it’s a win for all — and a win for all is success.”

In the lead up to the meeting, a report by the council’s acting manager of recreation and libraries recommended the area be reserved for golf.

Another proposal was to open the course to the community on Sundays, which the report stated would be preferable to opening it after 3pm. 

It raised concerns about the time and costs of cleaning up litter from the public.

The report noted the community already had access to nearby Mayer Park and 5.72 hectares of land the council reallocated from the golf course to public land in May this year.

Northcote Golf Course in Melbourne.(Supplied: Darebin City Council)

Ruth Liston, an administrator of the online group ‘Community to Unlock Northcote Golf Course,’ said the council’s decision showed it had “utterly failed” to listen to the community. 

“This lack of vision and inability to find a sharing solution that works for everyone will be the defining failure of this council term,” she said.

The golf course became a popular park for the public when it was closed to golfers during COVID-19 lockdowns and when pandemic restrictions meant people could only socialise outdoors. 

A turf war was ignited when the golf course reopened and locals launched a campaign calling on the council to return the land to the community.

A petition launched in 2020 to keep the area open to the public garnered about 10,000 signatures, while a counter-petition to return the land to golfers was signed by nearly as many.

The report stated that the tenderer should search for creative ways to activate the area with non-golf activities where possible.

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