"A 50m pool for Batemans Bay is a no-brainer" - contrary to council opinion the community

Dear Beagle Editor,

It is clear from the number of letters of support received by us over the last few months that there is overwhelming support by the community for a 50m pool to be included in the Mackay Park Precinct Redevelopment plan It is also clear that there is overwhelming opposition to council’s current concept plan that replaces the current 50m pool with only a 25m pool.

We bring to your readers’ attention the following names of supporters and excerpts from their letters received by us:

Batemans Bay Swimming Club: ‘We can honestly tell you, after discussing this with club families, they would prefer to be part of the Ulladulla club….. this is where our swimmers would go…..not an ESC pool…..we were 100% behind the 25m pool but to lose the 50m pool was never on our radar….’

St Bernards: ‘We are writing to express our concern that the existing Batemans Bay 50m will be downsized to a 25m pool…St Bernards uses this facility at the beginning of each year…we have 400 students…difficult to stage a swimming carnival in a pool of only 25m…’

Peter Cormick (Araluen): ‘The costing processes need a dramatic overhaul…..grant applications will count for nothing if what is proposed is flawed…’

Maggie Cooper (Tuross Head): ‘….amazed and disbelief….council would even consider building a 25m pool….retrograde and shortsighted outlook this council has …..hopefully this council will come to its senses….’

Batemans Bay Soldiers Club: ‘At our board meeting ….your request for a 50m pool (in Mackay Park redevelopment) has been granted…we hope you can achieve this …’

Kylie Bernoth, BA Health Science, Dip RM, Cert IV Fitness, Level 1 Triathlon & Swimming Coach, Endeavour College Academic Lecturer: ‘…..in my own national and international racing experience…the most ideal training facility….includes a 50m pool….there really is no substitute….’

Mogo Public School: ‘….both a 50m and a 25m pool would be most beneficial ….we would hate to think that we would need to travel elsewhere (Batemans Bay)….would not be a financially feasible option…’

St Peters Anglican College: ‘ESC did not include in their correspondence (when seeking letters of support for the grant applications) a copy of the draft concept plan which clearly shows a preference for a 25m pool over a 50m pool…express our concerns of a 25m pool being installed in place of the 50m option….we do not support the decision to build a 25m pool…..’

Eurobodalla Public Schools Swimming Assoc: ‘Our association is made up of 11 schools consisting in excess of 5,000 5-12 year old students........The size of a new pool is critical.......Anything less than an 8 lane 50m pool would be a backward step for the community......to build an 8 lane 25m pool is a 33% reduction on what is currently available at the Batemans Bay facility......'

Velma Bunt, Life Member Moruya Swimming Club: ‘The people in Eurobodalla should not be short changed ….an opportunity for councillors to do the right thing ….. 25m pool in the planning would be a backward step….(it) just won’t work…’

Elite Energy: ‘….supports the new Aquatic Centre….but not at the expense of the 50m swimming pool….’

Batemans Bay CWA: ‘'CWA Batemans Bay has asked me to give your efforts their full support (for the 50m pool) .....we would like the theatre space to be at least 800.....so CWA State conference could be held in this area.....800 people for 5 days in May each year....a big financial gain for the area.....I'm old enough to be suspicious about consultants who were brought in from Queensland at huge costs....this council has no vision for what benefits these things will bring to the whole area….’

CEO Swimming NSW: ‘…we reiterate our strong support for the retention of a 50m pool (in the Mackay Park redevelopment plan) with the inclusion of a boom….inclusion of a boom will not come at a cost to other aquatic user groups…’

Roger Gribble (Broulee): ‘….once in a lifetime opportunity for an indoor 50m pool…our elected representative have decided on a baby pool (25m)…cost estimation for differential $6.5m…is ridiculous’…let’s see a front page (newspaper) that reflects the wishes of the people….’

Jeff de Jager (Coila): ‘…poor consultation and engagement ….second rate facility doomed to never realise the aspirations of the community….how can council claim community engagement …. Swimming club or schools not consulted at all prior to concept plan’s preparation…’ ***** ***** ***** Costings:

We have obtained an Order of Indicative Cost from Hutchinson Builders (experience aquatic centre construction company) to compare with council’s cost estimate in accordance with their concept plan and to compare a facility that could include a 50m pool. The result is that it is doable and it is affordable:

25m Option: $29m - $30m

50m Option: $30m - $31m

Excludes consultants fees, authorities fees & charges, escalation (estimate 1.5 – 2% per year), infrastructure or any works outside the property boundary.

The entire ‘brief’ which contains the full content of the above letters was delivered personally to council and Minister Constance in November 2017. Minister Constance urged council to ‘review its costings’. The mayor undertook to do so. We have heard nothing back in this regard. We are informed that council has now engaged another architect to draw up detailed design of the concept plan without any further consultation with the community.

All of the above will be provided to the NSW Government. We will not be intimidated by council’s attitude ‘if you don’t accept what we give you, then you get NOTHING’.

Fight for Batemans Bays 50m Pool

#Opinion #BatemansBay

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