14 February 2023

Christoff applauds liftoff for Goulburn Golf Club accessibility

| John Thistleton
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People on stairs

One step at a time for a new lift for these Goulburn Golf Club members. From left are club president Barry Christoff with club manager Ken Law, and going up the front railing are Daryl Marr, Tony Morrison, Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman, Jocelyn Tamsett, Annette Smith, Peter White and Rod Cranston. Back row going up stairs are Gary Worboys, Tony Bodel, Marilyn Manfred, Carol Smith and Pam Morris. On Pam’s right is Dawn Bodel. Photo: Supplied.

With their premises accessible only by stairs, Goulburn Golf Club members have carried people with disabilities and their wheelchairs up the steps to the clubhouse for important social functions, including wakes.

A lift has been on the club’s agenda for many years, but in the past two years an even higher priority has been recovering from seven floods and repairing the course to enable golf to continue.

The club’s applications for government grants were rejected, but members persevered and have now finally had success. Member for Goulburn Wendy Tuckerman has announced a $152,197 grant, which means the club is within reach of a lift. The overall cost will be about $250,000.

Ms Tuckerman said the golf club was an important community meeting place, catering to not only golfers but many others users – seniors, families, community groups and more.

“It is a destination not just to play golf, but to connect with friends and family and to feel a part of the local community,” she said.

Golf club president Barry Christoff said the critical funding would help install an external light commercial platform lift at the front of the club, as well as upgrade a toilet for the disabled.

“This project will result in improved accessibility and inclusion for disabled members and visitors, and a significantly safer alternative than stairs for people with mobility issues,” Barry said.

“It’ll be a good boost for the club, and very good for the older golfers and other members of the Goulburn community, who will be able to access the club freely.

“A lift also means we can start hosting some events for people with disabilities because a number of golfers have disabilities and associations around the country are always looking for a good flat course like Goulburn without too many hills and too much water.”

The two-person lift will cost between $70,000 and $80,000, similar to the Soldiers Club’s device. Building alterations to accommodate the lift’s infrastructure and other improvements will take the project’s overall cost to about $250,000. The front entrance will have automatic doors, and a drive-through to disabled parking near the lift’s entrance.

The club has already accumulated $30,000-$40,000 over recent years and will continue raising the balance of funds.

“We have had to renegotiate the scope of our build, because we put in for $450,000 to upgrade the front of the club and put all the amenities for the disabled upstairs and some downstairs,” Barry said.

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Once the State Government has accepted the project’s new scope and issued a contract, work will begin and the club plans to complete it within two years.

“It is going to mean a bit of disruption for us, but the long-term value for the club and the community is, well, you cannot put a price on it,” Barry said.

Regular income was lost when the golf club experienced seven floods in 2022. Damage included a bridge on the eighth hole sinking on one side. On a Crown Reserve, the course was insured and members worked with the Crown Land managers to secure flood insurance income, and are now working on minimising future flooding.

Levees are not an option for the club, but it is working on other flood mitigation measures. For example, years ago, when the driving range was put in, a part of the course was dug out near a dam, which enables rising floodwaters to come onto the course quickly. Work is being done to remedy the mistake.

“But the course has never been in better condition thanks to the work of our staff and volunteers, and we certainly had the rain for that outcome,” Barry said.

Members are also expecting that when droughts inevitably return, the club will need more up-to-date irrigation for the course. Barry said the best solution would be using recycled effluent from Goulburn Mulwaree Council’s reuse scheme.

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