Seletar Country Club members may have to pay as much as $10,000 each for the lease extension of the club's golf course and upgrading of its other facilities.
The club has called for an extraordinary general meeting (EGM) on the issue on April 3 and members were told last Wednesday.
The meeting is to decide if the club's management committee can charge top-up fees of $10,000 and $2,000 for ordinary and "social" members respectively, for extending the land lease of its golf course by 19 years and for the renovation of the club's food and beverage facilities. For ordinary members, the fee works out to about $500 a year.
The club has about 2,300 ordinary members - who get full access to the club's facilities - and about 1,280 social members, who get fewer membership benefits.
If the club's management committee gets the go-ahead, those who pay the fees will be able to extend their club membership for another 19 years to Dec 31, 2040. Otherwise, the membership will expire on Dec 31, 2021 - the expiry date for its current 27-year land lease.
Ms Fion Phua, who owns club membership broker Tee-Up Marketing Enterprises, said some members are surprised by the Government's lease extension condition that the club provides public access along the edge of Seletar Reservoir.
In the EGM notice to members, the club said: "SLA stipulated that the lease can be extended to Dec 31, 2040, on the condition that we provide public access along the edge of the reservoir. This is part of a national initiative to link park connectors to a round-island route scheduled to be open to the public by 2025."
The lease renewal premium is expected to cost about $21.8 million, excluding taxes.
I thought the top-up fee would be about $5,000. If the golf course is closed for renovation, then we won't be able to use it for some time too.
MS CAROL CHENG, a club member.
The club's management committee also wants to upgrade its F&B facilities, and said in its notice that "no major redevelopment works" have been done in the past 12 years.
In total, it estimates that the upgrading projects, including remodelling the golf course, would cost $30 million.
Top-up fees among golf clubs vary. Orchid Country Club members paid a $2,000 top-up fee when the lease was extended for seven years to 2030. Tanah Merah Country Club members were told last month to pay $19,000 to extend their membership by 19 years.
Most club members contacted by The Straits Times were surprised at the top-up amount.
Ms Carol Cheng, 48, who has been a club member for about two years, said: "I thought the top-up fee would be about $5,000. If the golf course is closed for renovation, then we won't be able to use it for some time too."
But a few said the amount was fair. Mr S. K. Swa, 71, a semi-retiree who has been a club member for 26 years, said: "With the lease renewal and upgrading of various facilities, I feel the top-up fee amount is okay."