GOLFERS have been staggered by a proposed fee hike by Mornington Peninsula Shire Council that could see membership costs almost double at Mount Martha Golf Course.
Mount Martha resident Edwin Gill wants the council to justify the hike and says the new price could force a drop in the number of players of the game.
At the 3 May council meeting, Gill asked if council had “fully considered the devastating impact Mount Martha Golf Course fee increases will have on that community activity”.
“Up 92 per cent, for those who can least afford it,” he said.
“It is inconsistent with other community recreational facility pricing and will remove the sole physical and social activity for many.”
Although concessions and weekday passes are available, full fees are now around $1000 for 12 months, and $300 for three months.
Acting manager property and commercial services, Nicole Young, said the council realised the importance of the Mount Martha course to the community.
“Its operations are currently subsidised by ratepayers and so we have been looking for ways to ensure a more secure and sustainable long-term future for the course,” she said.
“Benchmarking of fees and charges against similar courses revealed the fees to be significantly lower than the market rate.
“We have proposed a new fee structure that aims to better balance the interests of ratepayers with the interests of players.
“Our goal is to keep fees as low as possible while ensuring the future financial viability of the golf course.
“Knowing the fees would likely rise for some players, we proactively contacted everyone who had engaged with the golf course over the past two years, letting them know of the proposed new fees and asking for their feedback.”
Young said close to 1800 emails were sent, with feedback from about two per cent. “This feedback, especially in relation to offering a concession membership price, will be reviewed and considered by council prior to adopting the 2022/2023 budget and fees and charges in May.“
The council meeting to adopt the budget will be held on 31 May.