Dorset and Ringwood Golf Victory for the Community – Courses Saved

An online headline’ “Maroondah City Council has Scrapped Plan to Cut Up Ringwood and Dorset Golf Clubs.” There had been an overwhelming response against this proposal.  Local players at both courses were shocked, disappointed and some were angry at the idea of one or both courses being cut up by the council.

The Maroondah Golf Strategic Review Stage One was commissioned by Maroondah City Council and one of the most highly controversial proposals was that one or both golf courses be reduced to 12 holes to enable the space provided to be used for other community purposes to be determined by council.

Residents adjoining the golf course at Dorset, members of Dorset Golf club and non-members have all been stunned by this proposal and the feedback shows the passion and commitment community members have for these highly successful and much loved golf courses.

Feedback was sought by council and only recently hasthe decision been made to cancel the proposal to cut back these golf courses It is this specific recommendation that is the focus of my article since I personally was involved with others to seek out local community input from the surrounding homes affected and local golf players. Along with two others,Robby Schuurman and Barry Hammond, walked around the adjoining homes with a petition asking support to stop the proposal.

We surveyed 207 residents with 90% of those we spoke to signing that they did not want the golf course cut up to 12 holes. At the same time we had two petitions of local Dorset Golf Members and non-members. Of the Dorset Golf members surveyed there were 340 signatures and all surveyed except one couple did not support the proposed changes and they represented 25% of members and if given more time I am sure would have been most if not all players. The next survey of non-members who play golf at Dorset resulted in 95% rejecting the proposals to cut up the course.  A clear pattern emerged that all those users affected by the council proposals did NOT want the cut up of Dorset to proceed.

Also, it was my pleasure to work with Paul McDonald, the local Maroondah City Council member most directly affected by these proposals. He was generous with his time and support of our efforts to seek community input by those directly affected. Paul personally delivered leaflets, encouraging people to have their say by putting in submissions. Paul made them aware in his leaflets of the issues and encouraged locals to give feedback, he told me they responded overwhelming to his suggestions to have their voice heard on these issues.

The Maroondah City Council themselves received an overwhelming response against the changes in all the other feedback they received. They had 1,125 submissions and on their website at “Your Say” over 4,100 community members gave their feedback with many submissions sent directly to council including the ones we submitted.  Council acknowledged that, “most of the proposed elements were NOT supported.” Specifically, changes to accommodate other sports were NOT supported because of the impact on the golf courses.”

It was a privilege to work with my team and watch the galvanizing of so many in the community to prevent the Maroondah City Council cutting up these courses.  Both courses are wonderful places for all ages to come play golf and enjoy the beautiful course and the great friendships that these venues have provided for so many decades. Well done, and a great victory to all who have worked so hard to have their voices heard.

Lynette Hayhurst