City of Newcastle (CN) will explore options to secure a new operator for the Beresfield Golf Course after learning the existing company intends to abandon its lease.
CN has been made aware Avana Pty Ltd proposes to terminate its agreement of the council-owned facility on 31 August.
It comes just 24 months into a five-year contract offered to, and signed by, Avana in 2020 following a review of its business plan and financial statements.
“We’re bitterly disappointed by this decision,” a CN spokesperson said.
“Despite returning healthy profits for the past five years, Avana approached council in June 2022 requesting the early termination of its lease.
“The company cited financial difficulties and operational constraints imposed by the continued wet weather.
“CN endeavoured to work with Avana on a feasible solution that would ensure the continued operation of Beresfield Golf Course for the community.
“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.”
It is understood Avana also wrote to the members of the Viney Creek Golf Club to advise them of its decision to abandon the lease.
“City of Newcastle is extremely concerned by a number of false claims made in that communication,” the spokesperson said.
“Despite the assertions in their message to members, the Viney Creek Golf Club does not ‘belong’ to Beresfield Golf Course.
“It is owned and run by Avana Pty Ltd and was set up by that company in November 2016.
“As such, members concerned about club memberships paid just two months ago should speak with the owners about a prorated refund.
“An additional claim that the competition schedule will continue to operate post Avana’s departure from the course is also false.
“Having been given just two weeks’ notice of the company’s intention to walk away from its lease, it is not possible for CN to secure another operator for the club within this time.
“CN has written to Avana today to inform them that they are in default of their lease obligations and must remedy that default or CN 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, we’ll explore options to secure a new operator for the Beresfield Golf Course going forward.”
FOOTNOTE: Avana Pty Ltd stated on Friday afternoon it would honour its arrangement in the foreseeable future.