GemLife – The Facts

The Management Committee acknowledges and encourages the diversity of views in relation to the GemLife proposal, however, we have a responsibility to ensure that misinformation and false statements are corrected to allow members to be fully informed of the relevant facts.

In recent weeks, the Management Committee has become aware of the material that has been published which makes false and/or misleading statements as to the nature and extent of the negotiations and possible commercial arrangements between the Club and GemLife. This material includes but is not limited to, the undated letter by Julie Walkden of CARA, the open letter of Patrick Allen to members dated 10th July 2023, and that of Patrick Allen, Andrew Stewart, Bob Noble, Andre Smit, and Dennis Beckhaus dated 30 June 2023. Some of that material also makes false statements which may have a defamatory effect on members of the Management Committee.

To correct this misinformation and answer questions raised, we advise members of the following.

Cooroy Golf Club Inc is changing its name

Simply not true:

  • In 2019, in the very early stages of discussions, GemLife floated the idea of a change of name for the Club to include GemLife. The Club flatly rejected the idea, and the topic has not been raised or discussed since nor is it part of the possible commercial and contractual arrangements between the Club and GemLife.
  • There is NO suggestion, consideration, or intention that Cooroy Golf Club Inc. change its name because of the GemLife proposal or exist in any form other than as an incorporated association the business and operations of which are controlled by a management committee elected by members.

Management Committee is selling Cooroy Golf Club to GemLife

A blatant misrepresentation. Cooroy Golf Club Inc. will continue to exist and operate as an independent entity as described above.

  • The commercial arrangement will be very clear about what the club is providing in exchange for the agreed deliverables:
    – 1.764 ha of club land
    – An easement for a shared access road. We will still own the land on which the 15th is currently located.
    – Stormwater easements over proposed bio-retention devices to be constructed on club land to treat stormwater run-off from the GemLife development.

GemLife Members will take over the Club

But why?

  • Cooroy Golf Club Inc is an incorporated association with a Constitution. Any takeover (for what purpose!) would need to navigate a myriad of legal issues.
  • GemLife has made it clear they have no interest in running a golf club, private or otherwise.
  • We have legal advice to the effect that appropriate protections can be written into the Club Constitution to guarantee the continuation of the Club in its current form and as a public access golf course.
  • Golf course land leased by Cooroy Golf Club Inc. stipulates recreational use and expires in 2037.
  • The GemLife development offers a unique opportunity for golf lovers to enjoy the convenience of living adjacent to a well-run golf course. We would welcome the participation and contribution of any of these members who wished to get involved in the running of the Club by joining one of our committees.

Member Subscription Fees will increase under the GemLife Proposal

There is a cap on increases:

  • Membership fees are a very important source of income for the club.
  • The Club Constitution provides that the management committee cannot increase annual subscriptions for the ensuing year by more than 10% of the annual fee prescribed in the previous year.
  • In 2022 the annual fees increased by around 10%. This year, conscious of the cost of living pressures, we increased annual fees by ~5% against inflation of ~7%. We expect costs to continue to rise. Any increase in running costs without an increase in income impacts our ability to fund running costs, improvements, and replacements – current scenario.
  • The guaranteed membership boost, course improvements, and facilities funded and delivered by the GemLife proposal will relieve the pressure on membership fee increases that exist under the current scenario.

How can we be sure GemLife will complete the work?

We will enter into a 3rd Party Construction Contract:

  • GemLife will be contractually required to complete the project within specified timeframes and to lodge a Bank Guarantee equivalent to 1.5 times the estimated cost of work. The arrangement will include penalties for delays.
  • GemLife will bear the cost of inflation and overruns for non-monetary deliverables.

The allegation by Patrick Allen that Vice President, Grant Smallacombe, called the golf course a ‘Goat Track’

A blatant misrepresentation of what was said:

  • What Grant actually said at the SGM on 28/3/2023, as verified by his speaker notes and members who attended, was: The golf course itself needs a lot of money spent on it in the way of better drainage, cart paths, plus tee, green, and bunker upgrades. Visitors still refer to our course as a goat track.
  • Grants’ comment is entirely consistent with remarks often made by visiting Vets clubs about our course, although less often now given the excellent work done by Warren Smith, his course staff, and volunteers.

Why not wait to see if GemLife wins in the Appeal Court?

Support for the DA is crucial to the Appeal hearing due to begin on 26th July 2023:

  • The SGM on 28th March gave the Management Committee a mandate (91 to 43) to continue discussions based on the GemLife proposal explained in detail at information sessions, including the changes necessary as a consequence of granting an easement on the land currently used as the 15th hole.
  • In Issue 7 of the Club newsletter the Management Committee indicated that discussions with GemLife since the SGM had been positive and that it believed members had sufficient information to make a decision on a Motion to support the Development Application (DA).
  • Issue 8 of the Club newsletter circulated the Agenda for the SGM on 20th July and made clear:
    – Management Committee support for the Motion to support the DA.
    – The outcome of the appeal will have a significant impact on the future of the Club.
    – Support of members for the Development Application is important to the appeal – the court case cannot proceed without Club support for the DA.

What has the Management Committee done in the past four years to address limitations?

  • Issue 7 of the Club newsletter provided a list of issues addressed by the GemLife proposal including;
    – Limitations of our existing clubhouse.
    – Limited ability to diversify our income
    – Access and parking issues”
  • Solutions to these issues have been canvassed and investigated by every management committee in the recent history of the Club, not just in the last 4 years.  It should be obvious there are no simple solutions otherwise they would have been implemented years ago! Any solution invariably runs up against the same problem i.e., operating, and financial constraints.
  • Not that many years back the club faced a financial crisis from which it was lucky to survive.
  • The past and present members of the Clubs committees provide their valuable time on a voluntary basis and have always acted in the best interests of the Club and its members.
  • The GemLife proposal offers the unique opportunity to achieve a major transformation in a short time frame, something the club might never accomplish with existing constraints.
  • At the risk of stating the obvious, it made no sense to spend time and potentially money, when we have had a viable proposal on the table from GemLife since 2019.

Management Committee – Cooroy Golf Club