He said listening to those in favour of the proposal, and those against it, “got me thinking about whether there’s a way to strike a better balance between the recreation needs of both local residents and golfers”.
“Perhaps the debate shouldn’t be about whether the course should offer nine holes or 18 holes, but instead how we can strategically reconfigure a small number of holes to enhance community access to the approximately 120 hectares of regional green space just a stone’s throw away at Moore Park and Centennial Park,” he said.
Mr Stokes said this idea of a “small modification” to the course would give people much better access to walk, cycle, picnic and spend time in the “beautiful” green space that makes up Moore Park and Centennial Park.
Mr Stokes said the club was a “significant component of the sustainable funding and management of Centennial, Queens and Moore parks”, and contributed 39 per cent of the Centennial Park and Moore Park Trust’s income.
Cr Moore said she was “disappointed” by Mr Stokes’ view.
“We’re in the consultation period so I hope the Minister wouldn’t pre-empt that. I’m hoping the Minister will wait until he gets submissions from the community.”
She said the extra space was needed for residents in fast-growing areas of Green Square, Redfern and Waterloo.
“It’s about sharing and it’s about equity. I think what the Minister needs to consider is what is the best use of public land,” Cr Moore said.
State Labor MPs Ron Hoenig and Matt Thistlethwaite have spoken against the proposal, while Federal Liberal MPs Dave Sharma and Andrew Bragg said any plan to halve the course should be “rejected unanimously”.
“Recent community consultation at Marrickville Golf Course demonstrates adequate community accessibility can be achieved through the incorporation of walk tracks and enhanced entry points,” the pair wrote in a joint letter to the council.
Mr Stokes said he welcomed the “passionate discussion about public spaces” the proposal had generated and urged Sydney residents to contribute to the public consultation, which has been extended to December 22.