The Singapore Island Country Club (SICC), the largest golf club here with four 18-hole courses, will lose one of its greens when its lease runs out in 2021.
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Here is the full statement from the Ministry of Law:
SICC will be offered a new lease at the Island location until 2040
SICC will also be offered a new lease for one of the two 18-hole course at the Bukit location, until 2030.
The other 18-hole course at Bukit will be reallocated as a public course upon expiry on 31 December 2021 to be operated by the labour movement for the benefit of the general public and the labour movement. This will ensure continued public golfing access to golfing facilities when the Marina Bay Golf Course is phased out for redevelopment.
SICC will be required to work with the labour movement and conclude an agreement by the end of February 2015 on how the courses can be reconfigured and the necessary arrangements for the sharing of facilities.
Summary of Q&A Session with the Minister:
1. Members questioned why the Bukit location was selected to be reconfigured for the public course, instead of the Island location. Minister responded that the decision was made after discussions with SICC's General Committee ("GC"). The Island location is the larger site and SICC had recently invested more than $100 million in the club house. Hence, both the Government and the SICC GC assessed that it was more logical for SICC to have a longer extension for the Island location. However, should SICC prefer for the Island location to be reconfigured instead of Bukit, the Government was open to consider this request. This must be subject to certain criteria, such as the availability of golfing support facilities, and the feasibility of sub-dividing the location into two courses.
2. A few members questioned why SICC had to give up one course for the public, and not other clubs. Minister explained that other clubs such as Keppel, TMCC and NSRCC Changi were also affected. Minister highlighted that it was important to be fair to everyone. 3. A member asked whether lease periods for golf courses would become shorter moving forward. Minister responded that the current lease periods are based on plans up to 2040 as planners were able to have clarity up to 2040 at present time and not beyond that.
4. A member asked when active negotiations for the 2040 lease would begin, and what would be the benchmark for pricing the premium. Minister responded that the SICC management has to decide when to approach SLA to indicate its interest to extend its lease. The pricing was a standard process whereby the Chief Valuer would determine the premium to be paid for the new lease.
5. A member highlighted that Singapore had many parcels of unused land and questioned why SICC had to be impacted. Minister shared that URA had decided that no new land could be made available for golf courses based on the overall land needs in Singapore. Hence a replacement course had to be found for the Marina Bay public golf course whose 20-year lease will expire in 2024.
6. Members queried whether it would be possible for SICC to run and manage the public course instead of the labour movement. Minister responded that that from an equity point of view, the public course should be run outside of SICC. SICC's management will have to agree with the labour movement on the sharing of the golfing facilities.
7. Members queried if it would be possible to have the same expiry date for the leases of both Bukit and Island locations. Minister responded that all options had already been explored, and the lease expiry of 2030 for one 18-hole course was already a concession as the original plan was to allow the lease for the entire location i.e. two 18-hole courses to expire.