Welcome to this week’s editorial, How soon we forget. One of the drawbacks of having Councillors rolled over every four years along with a goodly turnover of Council staff is that you lose essential history. An example is the Mackay Park precinct and project. Back in days long gone this area was owned and occupied by the Walbanja people of the Yuin nation who are the traditional owners of the Batemans Bay area.
There is a special area over behind the footy building and another on the south side of the pool area. Back in the 1980’s Council had the idea of putting in a second access to provide an In/Out as they now plan with the new Aquatic Centre. The new plan will see the Mini Golf moved south and accessed by a new road off Vesper Street. Back in the 1980’s they had the started to build that same access road but came to a screaming halt when they discovered aboriginal artifacts. They quickly covered up the excavations and restored the area. Hopefully someone has passed on this info to the planners. The second interesting question is over the ownership of the Bowling Club site. This land was gifted to the Batemans Bay community by the generous Dr Forbes Mackay who presented to council Lot 30 which is the footy field and the bowling club for the purpose of recreation for the people of Batemans Bay. It was originally called the Mackay Presentation Park .
The 1950’s saw the community, including Albert Ryan, build the bowling greens and club house and over the decades the club grew. A big question remains. If the land was gifted how did it come to be sold by the Bowling Club to the Golf Club and then to Council. A title search might be in order to explain this fully. Council did make a mistake in Tuross of assuming they owned the Tuross Head Progress Hall land that was given to the community and were well annoyed when it was revealed they didn’t own it at all. They went ahead and sold the land however the profits stayed in the community for other projects. Some more interesting history that is now forgotten. Hanging Rock was the preferred location for the pool up until 2013 In 2013, Council exhibited options for aquatic, preforming arts and community arts facilities at Hanging Rock and received 370 submissions from the community. While the largest number of submissions supported only aquatic and other recreation and sports facilities at Hanging Rock, many submissions acknowledged the importance of arts and cultural facilities to the community and that these facilities should be provided at a location other than Hanging Rock In 2013 Councillor Pollock/Councillor Leslight moved that Council Council Receive and note the report titled Hanging Rock Master Plan and Business Plan and associated attachment and then proceed with an amendment to the Hanging Rock Plan of Management to reflect Council’s endorsed concept plan for the site as adjusted for detailed survey and design. They then added that as part of the September financial review Council consider funding for a temporary project manager to oversight preparation of tender documents and calling of tenders for the preparation of detailed architectural plans, estimates of cost and business plans for stages 1 & 2 which included the following components: (a) Stage 1 -Outdoor Sport Fields and Tennis Centre –realign sports fields to new configurations, new access and carparking and re-instate remote control car areas. New tennis courts, tennis club rooms, access and carparking. (b) Stage 2 - New Indoor Aquatic Leisure Facilities –leisure pool, new program pool, spa and sauna, 25 x 8 lane metre pool, health and fitness, wellness/retail, multi-purpose/community rooms associated amenities and support facilities, village green and partial carparking. And that Council consider funding for the completion of detailed architectural plans in the 2014/15 operations plan based on the tenders received to develop this project to a shovel ready state.(The Motion on being put was declared CARRIED.)
Above: The grand plan for Hanging Rock that simply disappeared So what happened to this grand plan? We don’t know however we do know that the Council told the Federal Government that such a complex was going to draw a lot more traffic and that maybe it might be an idea for them to kick in with funds to build a very large roundabout to cope with all the traffic that will be drawn to the precinct. Similar in fact to what they have just done with the recent funding received for the Beach Road/ Highway/ Mackay Park entrance where it will be widened to cope with the much anticipated growth in traffic at that intersection because of the proposed aquatic centre. But what happened to Hanging Rock and the pool, the performance centre and all the rest of it? Nobody knows. That was the last anyone ever heard. Next thing we hear is that Mackay Park is the new venue and that the whole parade was going to have to start over again with designs, tenders, architects etc.Some suspect it might have been due to Sea Level Rise and Hanging Rock was at risk however if that is the case then the area around Hanging Rock would also be at the same risk of flooding and tidal inundation. Much like the Surfside community who are up in arms that they will have to retreat from their homes and actually lose their properties if the inundation is more than four times per year. No doubt this same rule must therefore apply to Hanging Rock and those on Beach Road as water levels are uniform from one side of the Clyde River to the other.If that is the case then the Batemans Bay CBD must be equally at risk of inundation. It is not known if a constraint has been placed on CBD properties in regards to forgoing their properties under “planned retreat”. Of concern though is the fact that if Surfside is affected by the Coastal mapping of risk associated properties then by default the CBD and Hanging Rock are equally brushed and the proposed Mackay Park project just happens to be adjacent to …. the same body of water—more questions than answers however there is little doubt our Council town planners have this sorted Until next, Lei Further reading: The Aquatic Strategy you have when you don't consult August 23, 2017