Welcome to this week’s editorial and Welcome to 2018, One of the things that many in the community are looking forward to this year is to see a Council that is actually representative of their community and engaged, open, transparent, honest, trustworthy and inclusive. Sadly last year saw a major breakdown in the communities trust and respect of Council and fingers crossed, they learnt the hard way and will be looking at 2018 with an intention to change their ways. So how are they going in week one. Well, not so good. The Save the 50m Batemans Bay pool folks have requested the engineers report on the Batemans Bay Pool that might indicate to them and the wider community what the current status of the pool and its machinery is, how long it has remaining as an community asset and what, if any were the recommendations of the engineer. The group have been told that Council can advise that a consultant’s report was commissioned by Council to assess our public pools in June 2014 and that the report was provided to Council on a strictly ‘Commercial in Confidence’ basis by the consultant, and is protected by copyright. It is interesting that the engineer’s report was from back in 2014. Otium’s Aquatic Strategy from February 2017 says quite openly, in part, on its page 21 under “Asset Condition”, about the Bateman’s Bay pool
Items for immediate attention are relatively few, but should be attended to as soon as funding allows. In the longer term, a filtration and reticulation pipework upgrade will be necessary but this will be triggered by increased bathing loads at the centre and/or results from the leak detection investigation. Major recommended works were:
· Provision of access ramp into the 50m pool - $150,000 (Long Term)
· New filtration system - $400,000 (Long Term)
· New reticulation pipework to pools - $250,000 (Long Term)
This is revealing and begs the question “What’s the problem in divulging the older engineer’s report?” and “why are we hell bent in replacing it?” On the subject of the Mackay Precinct and old Batemans Bay Bowling Club While the veil of secrecy falls over the project it is common knowledge that, should the design as they offer go ahead the Country Comfort motel will be demolished as will the Reef Motel because of the new bridge. You might recall only a couple of years ago another motel was demolished in B/Bay. No doubt a motel shortage is likely to be created in B/Bay, which could well assist with Council’s convention centre ideas for the old Bowling Club site. Word has it that the RMS has acquired the Country Comfort Motel and it will likely to become their administration head quarters while the bridge works progress. The other back door utterings are about the RMS using the Bowling Club Site. At a rental of around $80,000 (we hear) a year this will barely pay the interest on the loan Council took out to purchase the land. If this speculation of rental return is correct it will be a very poor arrangement for the shire’s residents and ratepayers who are paying for the land and assets. The question still remains why was it purchased and who benefitted ? The councillors are certainly not abreast of any of the details and remain as in the dark as the community. So in week 1 of 2018 there has been no change. The whispers and secrets continue.
Until next, lei