Golf club members say $6m in shares now ‘worthless’
PEREGIAN Springs Golf Club members are fearful they will be suspended and denied playing rights if they speak out about the turmoil now rocking the club.
Those who will on condition of anonymity say membership shares sold by FKP/Aveo for a total of nearly $6 million are now virtually "worthless".
The club's constitution gives its board total discretion to suspend members indefinitely for any action deemed to bring it ill-repute.
Long-term members now in their 70s are frightened they will be cut off from friendship groups in the club if they speak out and fall foul of the constitution.
"It's not the same,'' one member said. "It's lost its soul and is divided by who paid and didn't pay the levy.''
Members who haven't paid have been served legal letters of demand and face hearings in QCAT and have lost all golf club access regardless of whether other fees and subscriptions are up to date.
Members were told the $1000 levy was necessary to avoid the club closing its doors because of trading losses.
Should Peregian Springs Golf Club members, or Aveo cover the club's costs?
This poll ended on 20 June 2016.
The members should pay.
Aveo should pay, it holds a 75% interest in the club.
Both should contribute in a way that reflects their interest.
This is not a scientific poll. The results reflect only the opinions of those who chose to participate.
Aveo, which holds a 75% interest in the club and therefore controls the board and the club, has been levied $25,000 compared with the more than $300,000 members have been expected to collectively contribute.
Members were told their contributions would be refunded through a discount on their next year rates if a development application to convert parts of the course into residential lots is approved by Sunshine Coast Council.
The board decided last year to sell parts of the course to Aveo for $900,000 to relieve its financial situation.
Another member said there were a number of elderly members who no longer played regularly who would struggle to contribute to the bail out.
"The money is going into a black hole,'' he said.
"It's very hard to get straight answers.''
One former member bought a house fronting one of the fairways and paid $50,000 for two shares as well as the then $5000 combined annual membership fees.
"I loved driving the cart out onto the fairway,'' he said.
"But in the end it didn't make sense."
The couple received only a total of $4300 when they sold their shares back through the club - $2800 for one and just $1500 for the other. Shares now sell for $100.
"The place has been divided by the development deal,'' he said.
"We sold our house and are happy to be gone. It's now a very big subdivision and is ideal for families and retirees.
"In the middle there was once a golf club that has ceased to be a golf club. There is no real committee. It is owned by the developer. Real golf clubs have real committees."
QUESTIONS TO AVEO
1. Why has Aveo only been levied $25,000 when it controls 75% of the club while members are individually being charged $1000.
2. Given Aveo intends to exit land sales by the 2018 fiscal year, what prompted it to reject a recent offer to purchase the golf club?
3. How does Aveo justify the pursuit through the courts of individual members who fail to pay the levy given the club's financial performance is entirely within the control of the company through its 75% interest.
RESPONSE FROM AVEO
"Aveo Group is a shareholder in Peregian Springs Golf Holdings Limited, which is the owner of the land at Peregian Springs Golf Club. The golf club leases the land from Peregian Springs Golf Holdings. The golf club, as an enterprise, is independent of Aveo and is responsible for the strategy and management of the golf club as an enterprise. Aveo has provided financial support in the past to the golf club but the ongoing viability and long term strategy of the golf club has and will continue to be the responsibility of the golf club.
"As part of seeking to provide the club with additional sources of funding, a wholly owned subsidiary of Aveo Group has entered into a land sale contract with Peregian Springs Golf Holdings to acquire some land from Peregian Springs Golf Holdings, which is conditional on obtaining the necessary approvals from council.
"All operational enquiries should be directed to the Peregian Springs Golf Club as Aveo have no involvement in their day-to-day matters."
#The Sunshine Coast Daily has made numerous attempts to contact golf club CEO Declan McCollam only to receive no return call.