GemLife will build a new clubhouse in exchange for part of the Cooroy Golf Club's land.

Cooroy Golf Club members have voted in favour of a Minor Change Application by GemLife in its last-ditch bid to get DA approval for the developer’s proposed Sunshine Coast over-55s residential estate development on golf course land. 

Innovative Planning Solutions first submitted a development application on behalf of its client, GTH Project No.4 Pty Ltd, in September 2019 for the Cooroy project.

The original plan offered construction of a new clubhouse and the redesign of the golf course in exchange for 1.83ha of golf course land. In the original DA to Noosa Council, the entry point was initially proposed on private property that was under contract to GemLife. 

But after a change in plan – moving the location of the road to club land – the Planning and Environment Court ordered the club supply evidence that the changes had the approval of Cooroy Golf Club members.

After the management committee successfully persuaded members to vote 91 to 39 in favour of the road access via a shared easement at a Special General Meeting last week, the matter is now set to be heard in the Planning and Environment Court on July 26.

The initial plan was for a 246-unit over-55s development, some of which is on existing golf course land. That was unanimously rejected by Noosa Council, citing inconsistencies with the Noosa Plan, plus the impact on the environment, the potential effect on Lake Macdonald water catchment and the impact on Cooroy’s existing infrastructure.

A DA for a reduced 214-home development was also rejected by Noosa Council in 2021. GemLife filed a Notice of Appeal in the Planning and Environment Court and in February 2023 lodged the Minor Change Application.

In addition to a new clubhouse that is “turnkey” ready, including a dedicated pro shop, restau­rant, cafe, function room, outdoor deck and terrace area, a new golf course carpark adjacent to the new clubhouse is also planned. In addition, GemLife will provide a new 40-space golf cart storage shed that has electric charging ports, washdown bay and members’ locker room and buggy storage area.

In a public notice to club members, Cooroy Veterans’ Golf Club captain Grant Smallacombe outlined that the development, now on 1.764ha of golf course land, would move the club from “surviving to thriving”.

“Achieving sustainable financial growth is nearly impossible. The club is falling behind in an area that is growing significantly, leaving us vulnerable,” the notice reads.

“I make no secret of the fact that I support the GemLife proposal and see it as a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for the Cooroy Golf Club to move forward and put something in place that will be here for future generations to enjoy.”

An artist’s impression of the entry to the new Cooroy Golf clubhouse.

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