Due to the pollution complexities of the site and its industrial location adjacent to the heritage cemetery [where my mother was buried nearly 50 years ago] it was designated as a golf driving range and mini-golf centre. The investment by the lessee in a licensed restaurant, club hire / sales, thousands of golf balls, required range machinery and mini golf was significant. It was the perfect use for the land and was very busy. Indeed, I attempted to hit many many golf balls over the years at this range.
Unfortunately, just prior to a state election, Andrews [ex state premier] decided to garner brownie points by loudly promising a new netball centre ‘for the kiddies’ on this land with a big ‘look at me’ sign thereby forcing the closure of the successful driving range and the associated multi faceted business. But sadly, now post election, Andrews’s rhetoric was proven to be just that and the Wangara site was never developed as promised. Years later it’s still empty. Indeed, it was all a ruse because he really just wanted to firstly get elected and secondly spend circa $19m of taxpayer’s money ‘butchering’ the heritage Sandringham golf links to be able to add a driving range for benefit of members at Royal Melbourne Golf Club which is literally just over the street. In this way Royal Melbourne could have a u-beut driving range on crown land for zip. Andrews folly is confirmed by the facts that the ‘old’ driving range just up the street remains vacant with no netball courts, the heritage Sandringham golf links was indeed butchered to allow for the u-beut driving range as it required the removal of par 5 holes [now not a true golf course] and, due the new layout, suffers long walks between some holes and all whilst demolishing the heritage clubhouse replacing it with an architectural and inefficient monstrosity for the PGA.
Knowingly throwing away the Sandringham links heritage identity.
In terms of the land in question on Wangara Road, it's on an old quarry next to a heritage cemetery, suffers some degree of land pollution restricting park usage, has basically zero parking and is in an industrial area. Not much going for it other than a golf driving range as all the infrastructure is there including the mini golf etc. Go figure!
How about a new 9 hole ‘par 3’ golf course [as was in Albert Park on the lake years ago] sporting kid friendly ’big hole’ putting [as they do in Barwon Heads] with lots of bunkers and new sloping lumpy bits whilst keeping the existing licensed restaurant, clubhouse, gear sales and mini golf. Add lighting for night time play, trees, significant sculptures and water holes. Wahoo! Everyone wins!! Then add ‘big swing’ golf for lessons and just plain fun. [We played St Andrews on big swing before actually doing so in Scotland a few weeks ago].
Or just let it rot because there are no current elections.