Has Council's dream of a Gateway tourism accomm and conference centre been pipped at the post
Since purchasing the Batemans Bay Bowling Club site in 2016 Council has been under attack from all quarters. Firstly for the apparent underhanded, behind closed doors, way they resolved to purchase the site and then subsequently how they failed in their communications with the community about the use of the site by first inviting expressions of interest only to then close down any further conversation by saying the buildings were all but fit to be condemned. In April 2016 then-mayor Lindsay Brown spruiked “Council will seek expressions of interest with a view to forming a partnership to prepare a standout masterplan and redevelopment that will boost the economy and could provide the much needed upgrade to the swimming pool. "Some of the opportunities for the site could include a new aquatic centre, an arts cultural cinema building, conference and event space, tourism accommodation, restaurant and cafes, seniors’ living and the integration of existing sporting fields into the future development of the precinct. The expression of interest will determine if there is private sector interest in partnering with Council,” said Clr Brown. The need for quality tourism accommodation in Batemans Bay can not be underestimated. The proposed Batemans Bay bridge, due to commence in 2019, has already had an impact with the acquisition of key motel sites and added further to the reported loss of tourism beds. In the Eurobodalla Shire Council Tourism Marketing Plan 2016-17 it states:. Anecdotally, it is likely that Eurobodalla has less available beds than it did ten years ago as motels have closed or been converted for other use. The standard of many of the remaining accommodation available may be on average lower than it was as there has been little reinvestment into new or refurbished accommodation, apart from cabins and villas in the holiday park sector which continues to be a strong contributor. Changes in the holiday house rental market and the impact of Stayz and Air BnB to the number of available beds is unknown. Motel and other accommodation types which have refurbished to a 4 star or above level appear to have higher all year round occupancy and higher yield than the lower end of the market which often fails to meet current consumer expectations. There has been much community opinion around the Mackay Park Project as to whether it should have a 50m pool. On the Bowling Club site the questions have been asked as to if it will be the location of a town and interstate bus bay, shops, cafes, flyovers to the Village Centre, seniors housing and a possible conference centre that will compete with other facilities in the town. There are also the questions around how much money, if any, council might contribute to the project through the sale of community owned propertie such as the Batemans Bay Information Centre, the Batemans Bay Community Centre and even, as proposed by the current Mayor, Council's own Beach Road resort. No doubt Albert Ryan Park was also on the radar for sale until the community advised Council that they didn't own it. Meanwhile, very much under the radar of most the famous Wyndham Hotel Group will begin building their $23 million 50-unit resort Ramada Resort Batemans Bay on 236 Beach Road later this year with a view to opening in late 2019
The group have acknowledged the proximity of Batemans Bay to Canberra and that it is a key stop for people driving along the coastal route between Sydney and Melbourne. The development is already listing Units for sale as Ramada Resort Batemans Bay - Holiday + Income (If interested then find out more here) The Ramada Resort, Batemans Bay presents an outstanding and highly affordable opportunity to secure a beachside property. Your unit can be used for your own holiday requirements & let out when it is not being used.Secure a 1, 2 or 3 bedroom adaptable apartment with spacious open plan designs and superior finishes. The main features of the development include a luxury pool, conference center, restaurant and bar, undercover parking with reception and lobby area.The resort will be managed by highly experienced Batemans Bay Services under License from Wyndham Hotel Group as Ramada Worldwide brand.
Photo source It might well be that Council has been pipped at the post. It is also of interest that this new Ramada Inn project has come at a time when Council's own Public Private Partnership (PPP) window was open yet they received no interest from the private sector. This might explain why the General Manager has now indicated that Council will most likely sell the Bowling Club site after the RMS have used it as a construction compound for the proposed bridge which is itself looking more doubtful each day as the community begin a groundswell against the design, the clearance height, the environmental impacts and the traffic compromise it will cause to the Batemans Bay CBD.