Dear Editor:The NJDEP is considering the proposal submitted by Liberty National Golf Course to lease theCaven Point natural area and wildlife habitat at LSP. A recent nj.com editorial stated: “Liberty National’s owner believes the expansion would attract more high-profile golf tournaments, boosting the regional economy…” This “belief” is pure speculation. The “expansion” would merely involve relocating 3 golf holes. The actual size of the 18 holes of play would not really increase. Liberty National already has a 25-year deal with the PGA, agreed to in 2014, to host “up to” 10 PGA tournaments through 2039.That’s about one tournament every 2-3 years. The PGA is not likely to reorganize their tournament schedule simply because Liberty National reorganized 3 of their golf holes. It’s also unlikely that Liberty National can ever host one of the “majors” like the U.S. Open because it’s a very small venue by PGA standards. For the recent President’s Cup held at Liberty National, the PGA limited the TOTAL on-site occupancy to 25,000 persons per day. Only about half of that number represented tickets available for sale to the public. Why would the PGA ever consider putting the U.S. Open at a venue where they could only sell 12,500 tickets per day, when daily attendance at a major is typically 4 times that amount or more?The impact of the recent President’s Cup on the regional economy was probably not impressive. The tickets sold for that entire week wouldn’t sell out MetLife Stadium for 1 game. And Liberty National will be hosting maybe one PGA tournament like that every 2-3 years? That doesn’t really add up to a big boost for the regional economy.And that definitely does not justify the loss of the Caven Point natural area to a private golf course. Liberty National also speculates that acquiring Caven Point would allow them to “serve underprivileged children through the First Tee.” They can serve the First Tee quite well on the many acres of underdeveloped property they already own at Liberty National. The idea of “attracting more high-profile golf tournaments” is just another excuse for this proposed land grab. The only reason why Liberty National wants Caven Point is to provide 3 holes worth of eye candy for the private enjoyment of the wealthy members. Thomas Zalewski
This is so upcoming athletes can continue the momentum built during the Pacific Games.Currently there is only one site for the High Performance unit based in Port Moresby and Tkatchenko wants to extend that to the Sir Ignatius Kilage Sports Stadium Lae, and the Institute of Sport in Goroka.This is to ensure athletes in the Momase and Highlands region access the facilities.He said the Chairman and CEO of the Sports Foundation will be submitting a budget to help assist upgrade those other facilities to a high performance level.“We will be working on that over the next couple of weeks for the 2016 budget.”The sports ministry will also be building a brand new high performance center here in Port Moresby near the Sir John Guise stadium and Tkatchenko said that sporting complex which will supersede what we have already started at the Telekom properties in Boroko.“This is something that the Prime minister is very keen to support; everybody has seen the result from that High performance center and coaches for the different sporting codes. It’s produced a remarkable medal tally.”“It’s also made our athletes better than before, they’ve only had two years under this program and look at what they’ve achieved.“So imagine what 5 or 10 years is going to do for our future athletes when we continue this,” he added.Photo: Pictured are athletes in training at the High Performance center in Port Moresby prior to the Pacific Games.