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Status of Heffron Road Pedestrian Crossing

Friday 20 July 2018


1. Where are we?

  • Meriton purchased 16 hectares of land from 2013 to 2015.
  • August 6 2016, Meriton and Botany Bay council reached an agreement in the Land and Environment court for the Pagewood Green development to proceed.
  • Meriton's Integrated DA 14/096 DP1187246 relating to the approval of it's property developments and subsequent installation of Traffic Lights approved in October 2017. Subsequent DA amendments in Feb 2018 concerning building height approvals.
  • On 3 October 2017, Bayside Council wrote to BDGC confirming the retention of our pedestrian crossing in Heffron Road.
  • This was subsequently rescinded, as the situation of our pedestrian crossing was outside of the guidelines for a 4-lane road, as operated by RMS.
  • On 3rd May, Bayside council GM, Meredith Wallave wrote to us and noted "Council has looked at creating a new crossing 150 metres to the west of the intersections with Banks Avenue on Heffron Road. While this will provide an alternative for pedestrians it will not resolve the movements of heavy machinery. Further it will take between 6-12 months to achieve the Ausgrid agreement to the installation of a street light at the new crossing site, which is a mandatory RMS requirement."

2. What are the facts at hand?

a. What are the risks to the Board and by extension, the Golf Club?

    • The risks to Members and Visitors are reduced by the introduction of traffic lights.
    • We have a considerably increased risk for our Greens staff. Previously, it would appear that Council, RMS and by extension the Police ignored our Greens staff taking their equipment across at the pedestrian crossing. We have now been notified that this action will be policed.
    • Our Course Superintendent, Cameron Smith is currently having all course machines registered. Each day, our staff plans the movement of all equipment between the Southern and Northern paddocks. This is normally done both early in the day to minimise traffic risk, and later in the day, at opportunity.
    • Golf Carts, unless registered - and that would require significant modification - are not allowed to drive on suburban roads. RMS has stated that they will not be allowed on Heffron Road, unless they cross at the traffic lights.
    • The Board has a responsibility to recognise and operate our Risk Framework. The Australian Institute of Company Directors notes: "The Board is ultimately responsible for an Organisation's risk management framework. The Board's role is to ensure the framework is sound and to oversee the effective operation of the framework."
    • It is "early days" in the discussion around the Tunnel. To determine appetite for approval/support at Local Government level, we are meeting with the Mayor and General Manager of Bayside Council on 25 July. If we decided to proceed with a tunnel - and this is yet to be decided - the other key players would include RMS and Sydney Water.

b. Is a tunnel feasible?

i. Why did we commission a feaibility study?
  • To confirm that we could in fact build a tunnel under Heffron Road.
  • To define a starting point for discussions with our Members, Bayside Council, RMS, Sydney Water and any other relevant stakeholders.
  • To understand what sort of engineering options were available to us.

ii. What do we now know?
  • A tunnel is feasible.
  • We know the method of construction to be used, and hence we could look to explore different designs.

iii. How would a tunnel be constructed and what would it deliver?
  • As far as we understand, half of Heffron road would need to be closed during the Construction of the Tunnel. The engineers would have methods of maintaining full road access during peak hours.
  • The tunnel would be a special prefabricated concrete design, and would be dropped in one half at a time.
  • The variants to design include - gradient, one lane or two, entries and exits, and height.
  • It would enable Bonnie Doon Golf Club to fully close all entrances and exits to the course, and thus improving Course security and safety for Staff and Members.

iv. How would that mitigate our risks?
  • No Course Staff or Members would need to cross Heffron Road.
  • The possibility of "walk-through" visitors would be significantly reduced.

c. Explain the concept of the "50 year" decision.

    • We believe that this is an important decision for the Doon. It is consistent with our Strategic Plan ie the focus of monies spent in the short term will be on the Golf Course.
    • The focus is to ensure that our course maintains its place as one of the top Group 1 courses in Sydney.

d. Why isn't a bridge a workable solution for the Doon?

    • To ensure the height required to safely allow traffic to operate on Heffron Road, the clearance needs to be roughly over four metres. To achieve that height from the Southern Paddock is not difficult due to the existing landscape. However, from the Northern Paddock, the gradient required to make that height practicable and simple for our members would require a significant, large parcel of land on a course where our space is at a premium.

3. What are our choices?

a. Do nothing. 

    • Maintain pedestrian and golf cart access via the traffic lights.
    • Rely on Bayside Council and RMS to provide a pedestrian crossing near the western end of the 7th holes and the 16th green.
    • Our greens staff continue to run the gauntlet across Heffron Road, which will become significantly busier as Pagewood Green nears completion in several years time.

b. Build a Tunnel

    • No existing holes or new Stage 4 holes to be affected by the Tunnel construction.
    • Design to be determined, hence cost to be determined. 
    • Long-term solution for the Golf Course.
    • Enables Course to be fully secured.
    • Minimises risk for the movement of our Greens staff, Members and Visitors.

c. Duplicate Course Superintendednt equipment on both North and South paddocks. What does that entail?

    • Council unlikely to approve a facility with less onerous conditions as per our existing situation on the Southern Paddock.
    • Would require duplicate purchase of equipment with normal ongoing costs.
    • Approval process is normally at least 1 year with an expected cost - based on past practice - of over $1.5 million minimum.

4. Where to from here?

a. How are we conducting our discussions with various Stakeholders?

    • The Board and General Manager have held several onsite meetings with Bayside Council and RMS.
    • The Board have hired a consultant familiar with RMS procedures and staff to define our ongoing position with RMS.
    • We have kept our Landlord - Sydney Water - informed of the existing situation. Our most recent correspondence with Sydney Water was sent 13 July 2018.
    • A deputation of the Board will be meeting with the Mayor and General Manager of Bayside Council on July 25. That meeting has been agreed to by all parties and will cover:
      • Current situation
      • Tunnel feasibility study
      • Possible participation by the Golf Club in the Integrated Development Fund associated with DA 14/096

b. What are our funding solutions?

    • At the moment, a cost for the Tunnel project is not certain. The feasibility study gave us a "high-water" mark with a commercial-in-confidence design and price.
    • We believe that there are a number of options to be sought from a number of engineering groups that can significantly reduce our final project cost. 
    • Hence the final funding solution is a long way off being decided. It is only after we are able to analyse the results of a tender process, the possible participation by the Doon in the integrated development fund, and the funding mix viewed by the Finance and Risk Committee headed by our Treasurer, that we would be in a position to nominate a funding solution. To do so would be completely irresponsible at this stage.
    • The Members of Bonnie Doon will be fully informed of that outcome when it is to hand. We will be calling for some feedback at that point.

c. When will we know the outcome?

    • At this stage, we believe that this may be a relatively slow process, we believe that we will have a better idea post the 25 July meeting with Bayside Council.
    • Time is on our side. Traffic has not yet increased dramatically. This will occur gradually as more Meriton apartments are finished and populated.


Bonnie Doon Golf Club
38 Banks Avenue, Pagewood NSW 2035

Telephone: (02) 9349 2101
Email: info@bdgc.com.au


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