Where is Council's accountability?
Dear Beagle Editor, Eurobodalla Shire Council News September 17th states in relation to the replacement of the Batemans Bay War Memorial Olympic 50 metre swimming pool with a 25 metre pool: “Consultants who prepared the business case for the facility 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.” An interesting claim when 40 minutes up the highway at Ulladulla, a population similar to Batemans Bay, is an Aquatic facility that includes a 50 metre outdoor pool.
Further north at Nowra there is an outdoor 50 metre heated pool opened all year round. Council is asking the community to accept they are working in the community’s best interest with a project worth at least $46 million, yet without what is necessary. The Batemans Bay and wider community has a right to know why Council engaged a company who are based in cities around Australia and overseas, who specialise in “sport and leisure” yet made a business case costing over $46 million that includes a 25 metre pool in the Mackay Park Aquatic/Arts Development because, according to the company, 50 metre pools have a “limited local” market. Questions for Council - 1. What sort of approach was used to engage the company? An open market approach, a select number of tenderers or one company? If not open? How many responded to the project? How many were based in NSW? 2. Are there incentives in the contract and if yes what are they? Who are they for? 3. How was the company best value for money given any necessary travelling costs for the company or Council? 4. How is the company uniquely placed to understand the needs of Batemans Bay and the wider community? 5. What work has the company been contracted to do on behalf of Council? 6. Were there any companies in NSW with comparable expertise? Positive social impacts of having a much needed Aquatic/Arts/Cultural Centre in Batemans Bay and the wider community are immeasurable. During the 2016 Eurobodalla Local Government election campaign, accountability was referred to often. Eurobodalla Council now is the time to demonstrate the accountability that was promised in 2016.
Maureen Searson Batemans Bay
The waters of the proposed new pool are getting muddier by the day as the community delves into the nitty gritty and discovers that it isn't all it might first appear to be and that there was probably good reason Council chose not to consult with the "great unwashed" for fear of them having an opinion. Editor