Battle lines are already being drawn, although the new owner’s plans for the future of Gulf Harbour Country Club’s golf course remain unknown.
The country club itself offers no comment. It advised members officially of the change in ownership by means of a short note from previous owner Dan Hou, on July 29.
“I have transferred our interest in GHCC 2016 Ltd and Long River Investment Corporation Ltd to The Pheonix (sic) Trust Ltd, owned by Greg Olliver,” the message read. Pheonix Trust is not a Trust, but a limited liability company.
Greg Olliver is a property developer, who so far has not made his plans for the 89ha course public, despite club members’ concerns and approaches by Hibiscus Matters.
Around 10 Gulf Harbour residents, local politicians and club members, met on August 9 to discuss the issue. One member of the group says he has seen plans for retirement village units on the land.
The group’s spokesperson Alan Parker overlooks the course but is not a golfer. He says the course is valued by the community as a green space.
“If even part of it is subdivided, that’s the end of it as open space,” Parker says. “We bought in Gulf Harbour because we knew about the covenant protecting it as a golf course. It’s only 15 years into a 999-year covenant. Such a long covenant indicates that it shouldn’t be changed without a major reason why.”
Hibiscus Matters’ investigations show that the encumbrance on the title is able to be challenged (HM August 2). It can also be discharged by Auckland Council.
Parker says a chief concern at the meeting was not only the possible motives of the new owner, but that the fate of the land could rest with Council.
Councillors Wayne Walker and John Watson attended the meeting. Cr Watson
says the potential for the land to be developed into any form of housing would have implications for every resident, especially east of Little Manly.
“There is 10.2km of Whangaparāoa Rd before Penlink where traffic will not be eased even when Penlink is built,” he says. “That infrastructure constraint has been a reason for the zoning at Gulf Harbour.”
He says the previous cap of 2913 homes in Gulf Harbour was removed under the Unitary Plan on the understanding that a large part of the area couldn’t be developed because of the golf course, currently zoned Open Space.
Cr Walker says a public meeting will be held, with details yet to be confirmed.
“The concern is rising, the longer the owner remains silent,” Cr Walker says.
Should there be any plans to develop the course, the first stage would be to apply for a Private Plan Change to change the zoning. Last week Council confirmed that no such application has yet been received.
• Gulf Harbour Country Club’s golf course is an 89ha, full size international course. • The former Peninsula Golf Course in Red Beach was 45ha. It was sold by members and developed into around 500 homes plus Gulf Rise retirement village. • Whangaparāoa Golf Club in Army Bay is 41ha. It changed its zoning from Open Space to Residential (HM May 2016) and since then developers have made approaches. In January last year there was a proposal to sell the course and use the money to buy Gulf Harbour Country Club (HM Feburary19, 2020) which was voted down by members. The Whangaparāoa club is an Incorporated Society and charity, so any proceeds of sale must remain within the Society.