SICC decides to give up one Bukit course

'Significant majority' of members support move: acting GM

[SINGAPORE] The Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), the largest golf club here with four 18-hole courses, has opted to give up an 18-hole course at its Bukit location - instead of its Island location - for public use. This was as originally discussed with the government. A "significant majority" of members at a dialogue on Wednesday supported the move, acting general manager Desmond Tay said in a March 8 newsletter. The general committee will accept the government's Feb 21 offer, he said.

Members who still prefer the Island location be reconfigured for public use instead of Bukit can exercise their rights under the club's constitution by March 25 so the club can submit an alternative proposal by end-March, he said.

The government had offered SICC a choice after some members asked if the original arrangement could be swapped. But consensus seems to be that one of two courses at the Bukit site should be opened up, instead of one at Island, which also has two 18-hole courses.

Lawyer and SICC member Thomas Lee said the decision to hold on to the Island course was reasonable. "We can do more in the Island location; we still have a lot of GFA (gross floor area)," he said.

The GFA of leasehold land at the Island site is 30,000 square metres, significantly more than Bukit's 3,551 sq m.

The Island site also has 1.66 million sq m of leasehold land bank, compared to 1.18 million sq m of leasehold land bank at Bukit. SICC owns another 12,000 sq m worth of freehold GFA and 21,272 sq m worth of landbank at Bukit.

The Island site allowed more scope for reconfiguration of golf courses as well as more space for non-golfing facilities, SICC president Tay Joo Soon pointed out in his Feb 19 message to members. Keeping Bukit would also have required significant capital expenditure to bring the standard of its facilities up to that of Island, he said.

Mr Desmond Tay also offered a new argument in favour of keeping the Island location: the proposed Cross Island MRT line would impact it less than the Bukit location as the line cuts across part of the Bukit courses.

SICC has to give up one of its four 18-hole courses for public use as the government plans to redevelop Singapore's only public 18-hole course at Marina Bay for housing and commercial uses. The government wants to have at least one 18-hole course - a typical full-sized course - available for the public, national servicemen and the labour movement.

The debate is now likely to shift to which of the two Bukit courses SICC will give up: the Sime Course located off Braddell Road or the Bukit Course located further in after the clubhouse.

The lease for one of SICC's two 18-hole courses at the Bukit location will not be renewed when it expires at end-2021. The government said SICC's other Bukit course can be offered a lease extension until 2030, conditional on them reaching a sharing agreement on the Bukit side with the labour movement by next February.

Meanwhile, the lease extension for the Island location will be until 2040.

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