North Lakes Development Proposal Withdrawn Amidst Strong Community Opposition

The controversial plan for a retirement village and aged care facility on the former North Lakes golf course land has been abruptly withdrawn. 

This decision marks a significant chapter in the ongoing saga between The Village Retirement Group (TVRG), its subsidiary JH Northlakes Pty Ltd, and the Moreton Bay City Council, fueled by staunch community resistance.

The Proposed Development

TVRG aimed to transform the 67-hectare site into a mixed-use development, featuring up to 250 retirement homes and a 120-bed residential care home. The proposal (DA/2022/3732) included converting 46 hectares into public open space, with TVRG retaining a smaller portion for future plans. 

Despite arguments that the project aligned with council planning and addressed senior housing needs, public reaction was overwhelmingly negative. The plan faced vehement opposition from local residents, notably led by the Save North Lakes Golf Course (SNLGC) group. 

A record-breaking public consultation saw over 4,000 submissions, with a vast majority against the development. Concerns were raised about the project’s contradiction to existing planning rules and the potential impact on local amenities and the environment.

North Lakes
Photo Credit: SNLGC/Facebook

Council officers, echoing these concerns, recommended refusing the application. They found the proposal in direct conflict with the Development Control Plan (DCP), lacking sufficient planning grounds to override these conflicts.

The Eleventh-Hour Withdrawal

As the Moreton Bay City Council prepared to vote on the matter, TVRG unexpectedly pulled the proposal. 

“Council have just informed us that the Developer has just withdrawn their DA so it will not be decided. Therefore no vote tomorrow!!!!” the SNLGC group posted on their Facebook page.

Future of the Site

Whilst the withdrawal has been a victory for the opposition, the future of the site remains uncertain. TVRG’s managing director Justin Harrison, whilst not commenting on the withdrawal reasons, hinted that they are leaving the door open for potential future developments. The community remains vigilant. 

“It is disappointing, but we still hold the position that there is no better pathway that they can take if legislation changes, so let’s get a golf course back,” A spokesperson for SNLGC commented. 

Published 27-Nov-2023

Community Lodges Overwhelming Objections to Planned Development at Site of Former North Lakes Golf Course

The fate of a development proposal covering the site of the North Lakes Golf Course hangs in the balance as the community lodges an incredible 3,700 objections against the development submission.

The Village Retirement Group (TVRG) acquired the closed golf course in 2018 and aimed to donate a portion of the land to the Moreton Bay Regional Council for a public park whilst developing another section into aged care and retirement facilities.

Public notification for this development ran from 20 April to 1 June 2023 after TVRG filed DA/2022/3732 in Sept 2022.

Despite TVRG’s emphasis on the community’s support for the transformation and the recreational activities already taking place on the property, a passionate group of local residents has emerged to defend the golf course. 

Save North Lakes Golf Course, with over 4,200 members on Facebook, has rallied its supporters and organized fundraising events to bolster their objections during the public consultation phase. The group’s determination to preserve the golf course has led them to prepare formal objections, crafted by their town planner and solicitor, as the public consultation is set to begin.

Meanwhile, TVRG plans to launch a website to promote the proposed Eden Creek Parklands, highlighting its benefits and encouraging community members to express their support.

TVRG’s managing director, Justin Harrison, remains optimistic about the potential of the park to become the region’s premier green space. He stresses the significant financial advantage for the council, as obtaining land of similar quality would typically require millions of dollars.

The North Lakes Golf Course holds a special place in the heart of the community. The site is known for its scenic beauty and considered a vital component of the thriving suburb.

With a population of over 25,000 residents, the meticulously maintained course offers an irreplaceable green oasis in the midst of urban development. Moreover, it provides a sanctuary for numerous native animal species, safeguarding their habitats against encroaching urbanization.

The Moreton Bay Regional Council is expected to make a decision on the DA within the next two to three months. This decision will profoundly impact the character and future of North Lakes, a master-planned suburb built around the golf course and Lake Eden. Both these landmarks are deeply ingrained in the community’s identity and significantly contribute to residents’ quality of life.

Published 15-June-2023

Future Uncertain For Former North Lakes Golf Course

Despite years of dispute with some locals, the current owners of the former North Lakes golf course have officially lodged their plans to transform the site into a retirement village and aged care home. 

Read: Major Development! North Lakes Eco-Lifestyle Precinct Proposed in Mango Hill

Planning documents submitted to the Moreton Bay Regional Council in October 2021 revealed JH Northlakes Pty Ltd is seeking to build a low-rise building with up to 250 units, designed for independent living and a single-storey complex for aged care facility with 120 beds on the site. 

Once approved, the golf course will be repurposed to accommodate the facilities associated with the retirement village. This includes dining spaces, function rooms, health facilities, a swimming pool, gym and an outdoor bowling green.

Around 82 per cent of the 67-ha lot will be used for open space whilst both the retirement facility and residential care facility will only take up 18 percent of the total area combined.

The closure of the golf course back in 2019 came with controversy, with some locals protesting its sale and the developers’ plans for a retirement village. A group of locals even formed the Save North Lakes Golf Course group to save the golf course.

The Moreton Bay Regional Council sought the help of an independent barrister and learned that the developer cannot lawfully proceed in its current form.

“This decision is only to decide if the developer can lodge its current DA according to law, not to assess or approve any aspect of the proposed development. We are of course hopeful the court will agree with MBRC’s position and conclude that the current DA cannot be lodged,” Save North Lakes Golf Course has stated in a Facebook post.

The community group added that they will continue to work hard as it is critical to ensure they keep the golf course that runs through the centre of North Lakes from being rezoned and re-purposed to retirement and aged care units.

To track the status of the application, visit the MBRC’s DA Tracker with the reference DA/2021/4205.

School Planned for North Lakes Common Development

The Village Retirement Group plans to build a school for Prep to Year 12 students in North Lakes Common, the site of the former North Lakes Golf Course, but a group of residents has expressed they won’t be supporting the proposal.

The developer said that they are preparing to submit a Ministerial Infrastructure Designation (MID) application to the Queensland Government for its school plans following discussions with different educational institutions that expressed interest in a new school somewhere between Endeavour Blvd and Diamond Jubilee Way. 

TVRG said that school enrolments in North Lakes and Mango Hill will increase in the next 15 years. Based on census data, the number of children in primary schools will increase between 1,550 to 1,790 students and 1,650 to 2,340 students in secondary schools. The developer said that while the golf course is in a sports and recreation zone, an educational facility may be allowed on the site per the planning scheme. 

If approved, the school at North Lakes Common will have to incorporate the following plans:

  • Multiple classrooms and staff facilities of two and three storeys, and provision of sporting fields and car and bicycle parking
  • Catering for up to 1,700 students (800 primary and 900 secondary) and 132 staff (53 primary and 79 secondary)
  • Built on an 8.6 hectare site
  • Vehicles (cars, buses, and bicycles) will enter and exit the site from the Endeavour Boulevard and Archer Close roundabout
  • Making use of the existing bus network (routes 668, 684, 685, 687, 688, 689)
  • 488 bicycle parks and 230 car parking spaces (114 short term) to be provided

Minister for State Development, Infrastructure, Local Government and Planning Deputy Premier Steven Miles will decide on the MID, after consultations with residents and Moreton Bay Regional Council. Mr Miles, however, said that he has yet to discuss with TVRG or see the proposal. 

Members of the Mango Hill Progress Association met in August and elected three representatives who will challenge TVRG’s proposal.

Photo Credit: Mango Hill Progress Association/Facebook 

“The Progress Association calls on Minister Miles to deny any application by the owners to re-zone a portion of the land on the North Lakes Golf Course for an educational facility,” the group declared. 

Meanwhile, TVRG has yet to submit its development application to turn another section of the golf course into a retirement village. Residents who formed the Save North Lakes Golf Course group have also opposed this plan, which has the backing of the MHPA.

“The Mango Hill Progress Association fully supports the aims of the SNLGC representing North Lakes residents in their efforts to retain a quality of life that will be destroyed if commercial or educational structures are permitted in the centre of an existing compact residential community.” 

Large Public Park Planned for North Lakes Golf Course Residential Development

The managing director of a future retirement village planned at the former North Lakes Golf Course has revealed that the majority of the 68-hectare property will become a public park, whilst only 12 hectares will be used for the dwelling and aged care accommodation.

Justin Harrison of the Village Retirement Group (VRG), who bought the controversial property in 2019, said that the potential construction of the retirement facility will still include plenty of green spaces. His statement comes after North Lakes locals have been protesting the golf course’s closure and the replacement of the fairways as an aged care site full of buildings. 

From Lensworth to Stockland to VRG

In 2000, Lensworth owned and managed the land where the North Lakes Golf Course was established and developed a master plan for the suburb. This included building an exclusive residential site within an 18-hole championship golf course.

A few years later, Lensworth became part of the property developer, Stockland, in an $846-million acquisition deal. Property owners living within the surrounds of the North Lakes Golf Course said that they were attracted to Stockland’s marketing pitch of owning a home that sits within the view of the green fairways. 

Later, Stockland sold the course to a private operator, Global Sports North Lakes, whilst the site continued to be a community hub. In 2019, the golf course was abruptly closed as residents were shocked to learn that Global Sports sold the land to JH Northlakes, Mr Harrison’s aged care development firm, and then officially closed the fairways in August that same year.

Retirement Village Review Process

Dave Laner, the general manager of Stockland Queensland, said they were made aware of the intention to sell the property at the same time as the residents, triggering a review process with the Moreton Bay Regional Council and the stakeholders.

The Council consulted an independent legal time to determine whether it’s feasible to have a retirement village as opposed to sticking to an original plan to have an exclusive residential precinct in the golf course.

The residents, some of whom have formed the Save North Lakes Golf Course group, have been hoping that the golf course will be retained, as it was originally part of the master plan for the suburb.

Today, however, that green space has been riddled with weeds as VRG could not proceed with the development due to the protests, consultations, and discussions with Moreton Bay Regional Council on the future of the site. 

Photo Credit: Vanessa Ropiha/Google Maps

However, Mr Harrison acknowledged that the residents continue to use the space even though it is privately owned, thus highlighting the need for a public park.

Following a series of legal consultations, the Council declared in March 2021 that a retirement village project could proceed on the said site. VRG, however, has not yet lodged a development application with Moreton Bay Regional Council. 

Mr Harrison said that their next important step was to turn over part of the land to the Council and his company would be meeting with concerned officials to discuss the process.

DA Objection List Now Up to Save North Lakes Golf Course

Residents continue to oppose a retirement village proposed for North Lakes Golf Course, this time thru a DA Objection List.

The online form was initiated by Save North Lakes Golf Course (SNLGC), a group of locals opposing the closure. As part of the DA Objection process, they need to identify as many people as possible who are potentially willing to submit an objection to the Moreton Bay Regional Council (MBRC) against the proposed redevelopment.  

The group believes North Lakes Golf Course is far more than just a golf course. It also serves as the focal point of a thriving community that boasts a population of over 25,000 residents.

“It provides an essential environmental buffer zone through the central corridor of our community. It has also become home to a variety of wildlife including Koalas and Kangaroos and is a vital channel for flood waters to escape,” the organisation wrote in their page.

SNLGC believes there are far more viable uses to the golf course instead of selling it to developers, like maintaining it for present and future generations. 

About the Golf Course

Located 25 kilometres north of Brisbane, the golf course opened for play in November 2002 as the centrepiece of a fully planned community.

Graham Marsh, one of the leading Australian professional golfers of his generation, created its par-72 layout. He kept Lake Eden, the natural waterways on the site and enhanced it to become a feature of the course.

Plans for North Lakes Golf Course

In 2018, the Club’s management discussed selling 11ha of its land to The Village Retirement Group to build a 200-unit low-rise retirement village and a three-storey aged care facility following its closure because of financial losses.

The remaining 57ha of land would be kept for open space, environmental protection and possible sports and recreation facilities for the community, something that proponents of the plan and those supporting it have also pointed out.

If you are against this development, you can fill up the online form here  to register your interest regarding lodgement of DA Objections to rezoning and redevelopment of the golf course. 

Aside from signing the objection form, the group has urged residents to join their Facebook page, as well as share and like their FB posts to create awareness.