Shell Cove Links will remain under council management

At an extraordinary Shellharbour City Council meeting held last night, councillors voted to remain managing the golf course under a new business plan. Picture Eliza Winkler

At an extraordinary Shellharbour City Council meeting held last night, councillors voted to remain managing the golf course under a new business plan. Picture Eliza Winkler

THE Links, Shell Cove will remain in the hands of Shellharbour City Council to manage under a new business plan and financial model.

At an Extraordinary meeting last night council voted to retain responsibility for the operation of the 18-hole golf course and hotel, and implement changes to improve the viability of the business.

The Links was built in 2003 as part of the Shell Cove project and council has managed and invested in the facility since a lease with private managers was terminated in April 2008.

In April council initiated a tender process to test the market for suitable applicants and voted that an alternate plan to manage and fund its operations independently be presented.

Results from both processes were discussed by the council last night, including a business plan that involves the subdivision and sale of a portion of the course to fund future capital and operating expenditures.

Under the new plan the course would be reconfigured to accommodate the development of the land that currently occupies the 8th green and 9th fairway and green adjacent to Dunmore Road.

Mayor Marianne Saliba said new resourcing streams and the implementation of the new business model would help council to take the business into surplus.

"The economic and social benefit of this golf course and associated facilities in its location has always been paramount to the decisions made by Council," Cr Saliba said.

"Under this new plan we intend to upgrade this facility and apply a business platform that would make it financially self-sufficient in the long term," she said.

The business plan details operational changes to improve its market reach and appeal to the broader community. These include upgrading the hotel and club house, improve marketing, reintroducing poker machines, exploring the feasibility of on-site accommodation and installing energy efficient technologies to reduce environmental impacts and overheads.

"This new plan moves council away from its caretaker mode into long term business management by applying a more enterprising approach for the long term," she said.

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