With the Cooks Cove proposal we will lose the playing fields and we will lose the wetlands. We will also lose paths for pedestrian and cyclists. In fairness I should mention that there are going to be new paths. There is going to be a new bridge over Muddy Creek (near the entrance) and there will be a path going north (but not south) so that connectivity with the city will be maintained. There is also going to be a path along the M5. Along those paths there are going to be some playgrounds and some landscaping. So at least bike riders and other people who prefer proper paths and proper amenities to green space that is a bit wilder are not losing too much, right? Wrong!
Right now we have the existing playing fields, paths and amenities and we have the potential to build more paths and amenities in the future. If the Cooks Cove South proposal goes ahead, we will get new paths and amenities but we will not only lose the old paths and amenities but also the potential to rebuild them at some future time. Whatever is on the plan is what we will have and nothing more.
If we keep Cooks Cove South public, we can keep the path along Spring Street Canal and build the bridge over Muddy Creek. That would cut travel time to the beach by bicycle and on foot. The dilapidated St George Soccer Stadium could be restored or rebuilt. The foreshore land north of Spring Street Canal could be developed into a substantial park rather than the narrow ribbon which is proposed now.
Can we realistically expect to upgrade amenities without the golf course taking up almost all of the Southern Precinct? I believe we can. Even if the residential housing in Cooks Cove does not go ahead, there is plenty more rezoning to higher densities planned for Arncliffe and Banksia. And those higher densities will lead to more money being raised in developer charges (also called "section 94 contributions") and in rates. It is normal and natural that a greater population in the same area can and does fund more amenities.
If the development on current golf course site goes ahead, not only will there be additional income from rates and developer charges but also from the sale of land belonging to Bayside Council and the NSW government. And there is the possibility of capturing the value generated by rezoning the land currently owned by Kogarah Golf Course.
There are some amenities planned for the current golf course site which are not part of the development application, including a bicycle path along the foreshore on land currently owned by the golf club, a stadium and three more playing fields (source: Cook Cove Indicative Development Proposal - Kogarah Golf Course Relocation). Those may well turn out to be contingent on the residential development. However, as explained in the section Land Ownership and Tenure, the Kogarah Golf Club is not viable on just the land it owns (which is less than half of the site, pre-Westconnex). So once council and state government reclaim their part, the club would almost certainly sell its part. Then the state government's development plans can go ahead (whether they are a good idea or not), including the bike path on current club-owned land.