Dear Editor, The other night at the Save the 50m Pool Public Meeting in Batemans Bay I spoke of my experience with the pool and my concerns around the community consultation process that might see it now removed. Though i spoke off some rough notes i thought i might put pen to paper to share my thoughts with those who couldn't attend the meeting. My name is Marc Chaplin I am a recreational lap swimmer. Also as a kite surfer, I depend on being a strong swimmer over long distances. So, for me, this is a safety issue. I am not a local, I have only lived here for 10 years, and the presence of a 50 metre pool was a significant factor in deciding where I would live. There have been many arguments put forward for retaining our 50 metre pool. I would like to touch on three of those; costing, comparisons, and the underprivileged. As I understand it, the only reason not to retain our full sized pool is finance. I would like to congratulate the organisers of tonight's meeting for providing a forum where the community voice can be heard. Costing Council's consultants, have presented an estimate of the difference in operating costs between a 25 metre pool and a 50 metre pool for 12 months. That estimate was $300.000. Against that, we have Council's audited accounts. The figure published for 12 months operating costs has been $229,000. That figure includes a 50 metre indoor heated pool at Narooma, and the pools at Moruya and Bateman's Bay. To my knowledge this figure has not been challenged or retracted. When I assess the reliability of the $300,000 estimate put forward, why should I reject the Council's audited accounts. How could they get the current operating costs so wrong? Comparisons The full pool seems to have been rejected based on comparisons between the consultant's estimates of costs between an 8 lane 25 metre pool and a 50 metre pool. More recently we have been told that consideration is being given to a 10 lane 25 metre pool. If the new plan is to be seriously considered, there should be a comparison between this new plan, and the 50 metre pool. There does not seem to have been any comparison between the current plan, and the 50 metre pool that is so strongly supported by the community. Underprivileged The underprivileged are perhaps those least able to advocate for themselves. However, they are disproportionately greater users of community facilities including swimming pools. It is notable from the information provided that the Disabilities Trust in Bateman's Bay has not been consulted in this project. Also, that the Walbunja Custodian Elders Group supports the proposal to retain the 50 metre pool. It is the underprivileged who suffer the greatest from the loss of community facilities. And make no mistake, replacing our 50 metre pool with half a pool, is a significant loss of community facility. The time to get this right is now. Losing our 50 metre pool is not the way forward. Marc Chaplin
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