The future of Beresfield Golf Course in the Hunter Valley, NSW, is up in the air as operator Avana Pty Ltd trades tit-for-tat insults with the City of Newcastle over their announcement to abandon the lease of the council-owned facility.
In a statement, the council said that it was “bitterly disappointed” by Avana’s decision which comes just two years into a five-year lease that was signed by Avana following a review of their business plan and financial statements. Greg Snelling and Tracey Wong are listed as directors of Avana Leisure.
But on its Facebook page, the operators posted that the abandonment of the lease was “due to the failure of the Newcastle City Council to negotiate with Avana for financial assistance” after Covid and “unprecedented weather conditions”.
“We will hope that the current financial strain on the business does not lead to bankruptcy. We will continue to try to work with NCC and hope they fix all the structural damage to the course as per the lease arrangement,” the operators posted on Facebook.
Despite council’s claim that Avana would cease operating the course from August 31, Avana said it will continue to run 10-hole Beresfield Golf Course.
Despite returning healthy profits for the past five years, Council said Avana approached it in June 2022 requesting the early termination of the lease, citing financial difficulties and operational constraints imposed by continued wet weather.
“(City of Newcastle) endeavoured to work with Avana on a feasible solution that would ensure the continued operation of Beresfield Golf Course for the community,” council said.
“However, they responded with an unacceptable proposal that sought to shift the costs of operating and maintaining the facility onto Newcastle ratepayers, while Avana would still benefit from the net profits.
“Avana has also written to the members of the Viney Creek Golf Club to advise them of their decision to abandon their lease. CN is extremely concerned by a number of false claims made in that communication,” it added.
Council says it has written to Avana to inform them that they are in default of their lease and must remedy that default or council is within its rights to seek any damages resulting from the default.
“Should they continue with their intention to abandon their lease on 31 August, CN will explore options to secure a new operator for the Beresfield Golf Course going forward,” it said.