Dear Beagle Editor, Batemans Bay appears to be rudderless and town planners are no where to be seen. A new bridge - hooray, that will see a big change on the river but what about the consequences? No access from the bridge to Clyde Street ? No access from Clyde Street back onto the bridge heading north or south ? How is it proposed to allow heavy articulated commercial vehicles to re enter the Princes Highway once they leave the Bridge Plaza unloading dock? Will they be required to travel in a southerly direction along Clyde St to the Bus terminal at the intersection of Clyde, North and Orient Streets where the local and long distance bus and coaches presently pick up and let off passengers? How will long haul buses and coaches be accommodated as far as being able to arrive at the present "bus interchange" in Batemans Bay ? Will reversing be necessary so more than one at a time can be accommodated ? The Mayor has said many times now that they are going to build a bus interchange and information centre on the site of the old bowling club. This will apparently be paid for by the sale of the Information Centre land over the road. Really? How much does a new information centre and bus terminal cost? Even if you build a bus terminal there does the community want to trudge across town to catch the bus? Across a four lane highway? Or will there be a covered fly-over that feeds bus-commuters into the mall? If so then there goes any competition. Imagine if we had a proper town planner with a model of the town and little cars and buses and semi-trailers and the model had shop keepers and motels and services that all relied on a level competitive playing field to survive and were reliant on the planner to ensure there was an equal spread across the whole CBD area of (competitive) car parking, accessibility, and ammenity to ensure a good spread of business. That is what they used to do once. Town Planners. Now they run around like blue ar$ed flies retrospectively fixing cock-ups that they didn't anticipate. They spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on Clyde Foreshore improvements only to turn around and propose to rip up a whole section for parking they didn't think about. They rip up brand new streetscaping in Orient Street because buses can't get around. They move loading zones with the stroke of a pen and then say that they can be used between midnight and 9am so that buses can then park. Consultation? No. And what of the buses? The coloured pencil brigade along with their scale-rulers then send all the buses through the new "pedestrian friendly mall" and will now have to add semi trailers and cars with boat trailers and anyone else who can't make, or doesn't want to make a right hand turn into North Street. Meanwhile Clyde Street west with its motels and oyster-sheds can't be accessed by anything taller than a garbage truck and the only way to get there is by driving right through the CBD and under the new bridge. And what about the new bridge? Well for a start let's mention the elephant in the room - the environment - the bridge is being built in a Marine Park. The elephant in the room is the fact that this area has a HIGH environmental value as one of the only breeding areas on the eastern seaboard of mulloway and that any uncontrolled disturbance places at risk a muti-million dollar oyster industry which has now got the attention of the Departmnet of Primary Industry. So what you have is a four lane new bridge meeting a four lane town by-pass that will have Batemasn Bay looking, at first glance like a strip industrial area with the back of the Mall, Macdonalds, industrial complexes, carwashes, petrol stations, more industry as you pass by the rear of Kylie Cres and then more industry as your head south past Bunnings.
The inviting off ramp into the town will be gone and to anyone passing by they will no doubt keep going because Batemans Bay, to them, looks like an unappealing industrial sh*thole. Council said it bought the Bowling Club site so as to have control of the Gateway to the Eurobodalla. We can already see that they have no design flair with their foam column Town Sign that looks like it was the winning design of a combined kindergarten sculpture contest using collage and cuisenaire. So far their great idea of a Public Private Partnership has also fallen on its backside and with the example of how they have managed the Mackay Park project that would be a warning sign to any prospective partner.
Apparently there’s been some very recent discussion about the Council’s purchase of the Bowling Club Site in Batemans Bay particularly what could occur with it. It’s now understood no private ( PPP ) development will occur on the site anytime soon and that the State government's RMS could finish up the owners of the site in the future. So there goes the Gateway. But all the planning, all the deals, all the little model cars and trucks and semi-trailers and b-doubles and people getting on and off buses and all the fish breeding and sea grass and boats going to and fro with tourists driving by thinking they have arrived in another Nowra-like industrial slipway - all of that is happening behind closed doors with secret meetings and meaningful handshakes and we will just pay for it all and be happy with what we get having been given bugger all opportunity to even voice an opinion.
Some flies on the wall Names and addresses supplied