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Push to protect precious land

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Once a popular recreational hub, Morisset Country Club lies abandoned.

Fencing now surrounds the Dora Street site, where more than 50 years of operation as a golf, bowls and RSL service club came to an end in May.

Landowner Drysdale Metals directed the club to vacate the premises when the lease expired on 15 August.

However, due to the notice to quit the land, its directors were obliged to refund all membership fees paid for 2020 and had already become insolvent.

Despite the club’s closure, a petition, led by the Sunshine Progress Association, implores Lake Macquarie council to retain the private recreational zoning on the land.

Drysdale Metals has not revealed its plans for the site and the council is yet to receive a rezoning application.

Sunshine Progress Association’s president, John Quinlan, is used to such a fight though.

In 2013, Drysdale Metals put forward a proposal to rezone the entire site to residential.

Mr Quinlan, a keen golfer, raised the subject of the original status of the golf course as a 99-year lease for recreational activities in 1962.

He claimed the lease was, at some stage, converted to freehold and suggested the council should investigate the circumstances under which this change was made.

Drysdale Metals application was unanimously rejected that December.

“[The council] voted not to rezone the land in 2013 and we’re hoping they will do it again and bring it into focus again and force it to go to the Land and Environment Court,” Mr Quinlan tells Newcastle Weekly.

“The question on everyone’s mind is whether the terms of the original gift of land is reason enough in law to prevent it from being sold and used for another purpose.

“Our understanding is that a gift of that sort can only be extinguished through an application to the Supreme Court.”

According to Mr Quinan, this does not appear to have occurred.

He believed the Morisset Country Club was a valuable community asset, particularly with a shortage of recreational land in the area.

“It’s a recreational hub for the golf course, bowls, croquet, snooker,” he said.
“The club was used for all kinds of things – there was also dancing, weddings, and the U3A ran a lot of their courses there, so it was a community meeting place.”

Visit the Sunshine Progress Association’s Facebook page for more information and a link to the online petition.

Hard copies are also available in commercial and retail outlets from Wyee to Dora Creek.

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