Council seems to have an alternate definition of community consultation

Dear Beagle Editor, In the interests of openness and transparency I pass on the letter that our Club has sent to the Mayor of Eurobodalla, Liz Innes in regards to the Batemans Bay swimming pool. From: Batemans Bay SwimClub <> Date: Sat, Nov 18, 2017 at 7:33 PM Subject: Batemans Bay Swimming Club To:

Hi Liz,

I am writing to you on behalf of the Batemans Bay Swimming Club, one of the major groups that use the Batemans Bay pool.

The purpose for this email to you today is for a number of reasons;

1: Where we stand as a club and our support

2: Third hand information: seeking clarity from the ESC.

3: Invitation to yourself and any councillors interested

4: Set up a meeting with yourself and the club

Batemans Bay Swimming Club for years have supported the idea of an indoor aquatic centre. I have been involved with the club as a swimmer back in the 1980's (when my mum was selling raffle tickets to raise funds for the indoor aquatic centre) till now as President of the club and my own children swimming. I have attended at least 3 of the proposals over the years where council have presented to the public a plan for an aquatic centre.

We supported the indoor centre at Hanging Rock that was proposed as a 25m pool with the understanding that the 50m pool was still going to remain functional. You can imagine our surprise when we turned up to the recent presentation at Hanging Rock for the MacKay Park precinct to learn that the 50m pool would no longer exist and we would only have a 25m pool.

We understand the issues of money and can we afford the 50m indoor pool and as other groups have requested, we feel it is important that the Council explore all avenues before completely disregarding the indoor 50m pool if we are to no longer have an outside 50m pool.

With this new information Batemans Bay swimming club withdrew any support for the indoor 25m pool. We wish at some stage we could have been consulted about the proposal. This did not happen, we have never been asked about our thoughts or opinions for the new design and plans. I realise council don't have to ask our opinion, but we are all rate payers of your shire and are one of the major groups that utilise the facility.

Poor management of the Batemans Bay pool over the recent years has seen a decline in our club members and it is our mission as a club to rebuild the trust and facilities so that local children can access a pool that encourages and saves lives through their desire to swim competently. We have had no squad coach for a number of years, meaning that our more competitive swimmers have moved to swim with the Ulladulla Club. This is unfortunate for the Batemans Bay community. We believe this will shift as soon as we have a facility that caters for the needs of these swimmers. Yes, they train in a 25m pool over the off season (as pointed out at the Hanging Rock meeting, by ESC) but they also then train in the 50m pool during the swimming season. These parents are driving to Ulladulla 3-5 times a week so that their children can participate in a sport that Batemans Bay should be able to provide. These swimmers and families will not return to Batemans Bay pool if we only have a 25m pool on offer. And why would they!

2: Information that has been passed on to us - third hand by groups that have met with you.

* Important point here, council have not asked to meet with us. But other groups have requested that we attend meetings to show our support. Unfortunately, as we have pointed out to these groups, the meetings are held during the working day. We are a club that is run by working parents that volunteer their time. Taking a day off work to attend a meeting is not going to happen. We have put our support in writing and have attended a few of their meetings, outside of work hours.

Points that have been brought to our attention:

* 'That the club was represented by Naomi Blunden and we support the 25m pool'

This is incorrect. Naomi Blunden's children were members of the club a number of years ago, but have not swum at the club for at least 2-3 seasons. Naomi has never held a position on the committee - therefore cannot represent us. I also find it hard to believe Naomi, being a swimmer herself, would support Batemans Bay having a 25m pool only, and I have contacted her about this - so I have the facts correct.

* ' That the new facility planned has no club room for the Batemans Bay swimming club and as all groups that use the facility we will be charged a room hire fee and ESC have never and will never supply the club with storage for their equipment'.

If this comment is proven to be true, we will take it to the paper. Batemans Bay swimming club should have been included in the plan and a club room (shared as it is now) provided near the pool deck. Having no club room near pool deck is not sufficient. Again, it would be sabotaging a major group that use the pool facilities.

Has the ESC forgotten who raised the funds to provide the current club room? So much of the club money over the years has gone into the upkeep of the current Batemans Bay club room. Recent renovations were paid 50% by the ESC and 50% by the Batemans Bay swimming club. $5400 is not an easy amount of money for the club to raise as a not for profit organisation. But we did. The response I got when I questioned this at a recent MOU meeting was that, if the re-development goes ahead, the club could sell the kitchen to get a return on some of our funds spent.

For as long as I can remember the club have stored all their equipment at the club rooms in locked cupboards.

This comment by ESC has truly disgusted the club, at the total disregard the ESC has for us as a club at present. We hope that this has been a misunderstanding, by those reporting back to us.

A swimming club without a club room and storage means we are no longer a club.

3: Invitation

I extend an invitation for yourself and any Councillors interested in attending a club night

- Wednesday nights at 5:45 - 7:30pm. Come along and speak to the parents and the children involved.

We also extend an invitation to yourself to attend our upcoming carnival that sees a huge number of swimmers and families travel to Batemans Bay to compete. This is something that won't happen if we have a 25m pool facility. Out of the 3 pools in the shire, we currently have the largest carnival participation. It has been a great success every year. We did consider this year going to the plan of having one every second year but South Eastern Swimming Association begged us to go ahead yearly as we hold one of the most successful events on the South Coast and it would be a shame for swimmers to miss out on this opportunity.

Please come along, I know the Bay Post will be there.

Saturday 2nd December 9am - 4pm. This event is run by local volunteers and coordinated on the day by these volunteers and swimming officials from across the state.

4: Meeting

Representatives from the club would love to set up a meeting time with you. We would appreciate that it is outside of school work hours. Four of the five committee members at present are school teachers at all the different schools in the Batemans Bay area. We would appreciate to meet and discuss with you the importance of having the ESC continue to support our club and appreciate the importance the club has in encouraging our local children to swim.

We know that the grant hasn't come through yet and we have been told by some ESC representatives, everything is not set in stone and changes can be made. But we saw how fast the proposal was put forward without consultation of our club, we would like to be heard now before it is too late.

We appreciate your time and the difficult job that you have ahead of you.

Jeni McCarthy & Simone Elliott

President & Vice President

Batemans Bay Swimming Club

Editors Note: as yet the Club has NOT heard back from the Mayor or any of the Councillors.

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