Councillors choose combined aquatic and arts facility
Eurobodalla Council will apply to the NSW Government for funding to build a regional aquatic and arts and cultural facility at Mackay Park in Batemans Bay.
The decision was made at an extraordinary meeting on Tuesday where councillors unanimously chose the co-located facility on the southern part of the precinct over a second option that separated the arts and cultural facility onto the former Batemans Bay Bowling Club site.
Tuesday’s vote leaves the Council-owned site unencumbered and retains its potential to deliver the other preferred development outcomes for the gateway precinct, such as tourist accommodation and events and conferencing facilities.
Discussion about the preference for a 50-metre pool dominated debate at the meeting.
Preliminary concepts for the facility propose a 25-metre, eight-lane pool, along with a separate warm water program pool and spa area, plus a toddler and leisure water area, water-play splash pad and waterslides.
According to the business case, a 50-metre pool will cost approximately $6 million more to construct and up to $300,000 per year more to operate. Consultants Otium noted the limited local market for a 50-metre pool when compared to the strong demand for recreation and program/therapy pool space, given Eurobodalla’s ageing population and the family tourist market.
Clr Innes rounded out the pool discussion, stating that while a 50-metre pool might be out of reach, the next stages of the planning process will examine the possibility of expanding the 25-metre pool to ten lanes to increase its capacity.
“Ultimately, we will only build what we can afford to maintain. The facility must be and will be affordable,” she said, also refuting speculation that a special rate variation would be required to fund the centre’s ongoing operations.
Mayor Innes told councillors that 39 letters had been received from user, community and business groups in support of Council’s funding applications.
“We should be excited as a community,” she said. “This Council is a responsible one and has no desire to build a facility that the community doesn’t love or that Council can’t afford to maintain.
“I want us to get excited about this project. We have the opportunity to achieve something incredible.”
The deadline for the first NSW Government funding submission is 4 September.
Mackay Park precinct redevelopment: business case and design concepts resolution 29.8.2017 (PSR17/050)
1. Council endorse option 1, being the development of a regional aquatic centre, arts and cultural facility and gateway visitor centre, on the southern part of the Batemans Bay Mackay Park precinct for the purpose of seeking grant funding to construct the facility.
2. Council endorse option 1 to inform the detailed planning and design process for the precinct, and to inform the process of seeking to establish a public private partnership, or other procurement process, for the development of the northern part of the precinct.
3. In the detailed planning and design process for the aquatic centre and arts and cultural facility, Council consider the potential to expand the facility, if and when, needed into the future.
4. Council develop a process to ensure ongoing engagement with the community throughout the design and development phases of the facility.
5. Council make a decision on the potential demolition of the former Batemans Bay Bowling Club building once a decision is made on the development of the Mackay Park Precinct.
6. Council thank the members of the Sunset Committee for their work to date in assisting with the early planning stages of the project.
Find a digest of media releases about the Mackay Park precinct redevelopment, as well as the business case and concept plans: http://www.esc.nsw.gov.au/inside-council/project-and-exhibitions/proposals/batemans-bay-mackay-park-precinct-redevelopment-proposal