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Former Belair Golf Course could become mountain bike hub

POSTED ON October 6, 2018 @ 2:51 pm

The former Belair Golf Course in the Adelaide Hills could be repurposed as a mountain bike mecca, if councillors get their way, while a public park, convention centre and cafe could also be on the cards.

The State Government is inviting proposals for the site as well as the adjacent Country Club after it fell into administration and closed earlier this year.

The location dropped in popularity in recent years and the on-site golf shop had closed, with golfers directed into the restaurant area for bookings.

The course, while popular at a general level among those who liked sharing it with kangaroos, emus and ducks, generally was not considered a high-level course due to a lower-grade turf and public accessibility.

It has since been allowed to die off, and only 11 per cent of more than 2,200 people who responded to a government survey wanted the course maintained as an activity.

“The previous Labor government turned off the water and sadly left it without a plan for the future,” Environment Minister David Spiers said.

“We have taken action and, through an extensive community consultation and an expression of interest process, we will be able to determine the best use of the site going forward.”

Friends of Belair National Park (FBNP) treasurer Carol Parrott said her group wanted different developments considered to bring people in.

“We would prefer to see it as public open space that includes recreation activities for different age groups,” she said.

“We suggested a natural materials playground, similar to the [new] one at Morialta Conservation Park, and we also suggested making use of the two lots of water on the land, the small lakes.

“Perhaps they could be made available for people with model boats and that type of thing.”

The Government built the golf course as a nine-hole facility in 1934 to raise money for maintenance of the adjacent 835-hectare Belair National Park — Australia’s second national park after being proclaimed in 1891.

It was extended to 18 holes in 1941 and leased to the private sector along with a caravan park zone in the early 1980s.

Some 74 per cent of people who responded to the government survey lived within 10 kilometres of the site.

Of those respondents, 67 per cent said they wanted it to remain affordable and family friendly.

City of Mitcham and Adelaide Hills councils, along with Adelaide Hills Tourism, proposed it as a site for mountain bike tourism, which has been a growing industry in parts of Australia.

Belair National Park offers a number of trails and is centrally located between the Eagle Mountain Bike Park and nearby Mitcham Hills trails.

Council representatives said there was a need for a centralised hub to attract interstate riders who were seeking accommodation, bike wash-down areas, repair facilities, food and activities for their families.

The latter two organisations also spoke about conferencing, family and large group accommodation, outdoor event spaces, and community arts and culture hubs.

Other suggestions included adventure playgrounds with ziplines, ropes and treetop climbs, holiday programs and a younger rangers program.

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