Alex Totton at the BITS Saints' AFL golf day, held at Boyne Island Golf Club on 15 September 2018.
Alex Totton at the BITS Saints' AFL golf day, held at Boyne Island Golf Club on 15 September 2018.

‘ENORMOUS SHOCK’: Cost of BITS Golf Course upgrade revealed

GLADSTONE Regional councillors were lost for words when they learned the BITS Golf Course upgrade would cost at least $2 million more than expected.

During this week's general meeting, councillors were asked to endorse the preparation of a detailed design to remediate the course's soil condition and replace the existing irrigation system.

In order to accommodate for improvements to the ageing irrigation system and remediate the soil, council is staring down the barrel of a $2.5 million hole in its new budget.

That is $2M more than council's one-off investment offer of $460,000 to upgrade and replace the existing irrigation system

"That was a bit more than we thought it was going to be," Mayor Matt Burnett said.

Currently the BITS Golf Club leases land from Gladstone Regional Council on which it operates the 13-hole golf course.

The council supplies effluent from Tannum Sands Wastewater Treatment Plant which is used to irrigate the golf course but council officers are exploring the possibility of switching to potable water.

General manager of Strategic Asset Performance Anna Scott said council has had some high-level discussion with the golf club regarding the findings to date.

"But the costings report has not been provided to them for consideration," Ms Scott said.

Councillor Chris Trevor said the figures which had been quoted and confirmed by the Mayor ran into the several million dollars.

"Now that, in my understanding, was never imagined or discussed nor was the information ever available to councillors when we made previous decisions in relation to this matter," Cr Trevor said.

"News today that the end cost would result in several million dollars to abate this issue or at least deal with it comes as an enormous shock."

Cr Burnett is hopeful of getting the detailed design plan to the BITS Golf Club as soon as possible.

"I think when it comes time to look at the recommendations we need to consider the fact that they haven't actually seen this report," Cr Burnett said.

"Our offer of $460,000 still stands but they might turn around and say, 'well that isn't going to get us a quarter of an irrigation system'."

"Two million dollars is a lot of money for a club to find or is council going to come up with the $2 million and where are we going to get that from as we have only just adopted our budget?"

Councillors voted to provide BITS Golf Club with a copy of the costings report yesterday afternoon and to seek feedback from the executive of the club.