Are Council jumping in the deep end?

The Editor

The recent council meeting discussing a proposed new aquatic and performing arts centre for Batemans Bay with a grant fund offer by the State Government is likely a long way off going ahead in any shape or form At the moment there is money just as a promise providing certain criteria is met that satisfies the Government and those responsible for assessing a properly prepared design plan. The Council meeting confirmed that they haven't been formally notified of the grant so all we have is a promise by Andrew Constance. A promise for $26m on a $46m project with no guarantees of where the rest is coming from isn't very assuring when we hear the local member wants bulldozers on site in March next year. You wouldn't begin any project without having your budget locked down. Council and our Councillors will be required to support a detailed business case including future maintenance provisions and identify where the difference between the Grant offers and the total estimated cost or price will come from. Listening to the Mayor's description of how they were going to ask architects to draw up plans so the work can be done in stages based on future grants doesn't give any sense of security and it was very evident listening to her that Council is well out of its depth having never overseen a project of this scale that has no figures on the table of running costs or projected incomes. The electioneering promises of a couple of our present councillors in relation to the new indoor heated pool or aquatic centre may not be affordable over time with out significant increases in councils income streams. Our councillors need to hold some public meetings and properly explain where all the initial funding and future maintenance funding will come from if the planned project is to go ahead and survive.

Allan Brown



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