STAIRWAY TO RUIN: The Terranora Lakes Country Club lies in ruins, its once-opulent interior targeted by vandals.
STAIRWAY TO RUIN: The Terranora Lakes Country Club lies in ruins, its once-opulent interior targeted by vandals. supplied A & D Photography

From glitter to ghetto: residents sick of derelict club

THE state of the former Terranora Lakes Country Club site has been slammed with nearby residents calling on the owners to fix the ruin it has become.

The once glamorous venue that flourished on the back of years of prosperity is sadly now derelict and can't seem to turn a trick with developers, most of whom have talked big games but been reluctant to front up with cash.

The Mantle Group currently owns the site and announced back in 2009, under the branding of Terranora Group Management, plans for a $1.3 billion development that would include an aged care facility, schools, tourist accommodation, a retail precinct and homes for thousands of people.

Mantle Group chief Godfrey Mantle said at the time he "wanted to create a real village atmosphere” and "sense of community” with the development.

Since then, however, progress has stalled.

When contacted by the Tweed Daily, Mr Mantle said he understood the worries people had about the site and was working to ensure the place was not a hot spot for delinquents.

"We're part of the community and share their concerns,” Mr Mantle said.

"We have a full-time caretaker who has made numerous ongoing complaints to the police.

"We have incurred significant costs in securing the site but are then faced with forced entry by criminals.”

Terranora Country Club lays abandoned at Bilambil Heights.
Terranora Country Club lays abandoned at Bilambil Heights. Scott Davis

Mr Mantle recommitted to the project and said his company was "working with the Department of Planning and Council to ensure development of the site at the earliest opportunity”.

But Gordon Levenson, secretary of combined groups of Tweed Valley Neighbourhood Watch, called on the owners to find a solution sooner rather than later, warning the former country club is a known hotspot for criminal and other unsavoury activity.

"Really, it's an eyesore,” he said. "And really, it should have been cleaned up a long time ago.

"As far as we're concerned, it's a jampot for people who want to do the wrong thing and get up to mischief.”

Tweed Shire Council had no recent record of complaints and, following a recent ranger visit, reported no obvious acts of vandalism from outside the perimeter fence other than fire damage.

Its records included "quite a lot of correspondence between council and the landowner dating back to 2011” in which rubbish removal, fence installation and ongoing vegetation maintenance was addressed.

This is now what remains of the former Terranora Lakes Country Club.
This is now what remains of the former Terranora Lakes Country Club. supplied A & D Photography

At the time of the last blaze reported at the site in December, the second in a matter of weeks, firefighters said the place had become a known squatter haven.

It was once one of the most popular social and sporting venues in the Tweed and made most of its money from pokie machines.

That was before Queensland relaxed its gambling laws, with many of the club's former customers then choosing not to make the trip south from north of the border.

The club also had 18-hole golf course with magnificent views.

But now the golf course is overgrown and animals walk its fairways.

FALL FROM GRACE: TIMELINE

  • The Terranora Lakes Country Club was officially opened on August 28, 1959.
  • Initially, there was a small clubhouse, a tennis court, a nine-hole golf course, a squash court, a swimming pool and a bowling green.
  • The club obtained a liquor licence in March 1965 and in the same year bought its first eight poker machines.
  • By the late 1980s the club had 136 staff and was home to an 18-hole golf course, three bowling greens, three clay target shooting ranges, 50m swimming pool, five tennis courts a time-share resort and in excess of 200 poker machines.
  • The club closed in 1996.


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