The Beagle Editor,
29th April 2016 saw the purchase of the Batemans Bay Bowling Club under the watch of the now Councilor Lindsay Brown who confirmed at a Community Forum meeting in Moruya that the Council had purchased the Bowling Club for $2.7 million. This was followed up with a media release from Council quoting the same price.
This announcement created a wave of excitement in the community with lots of thoughts, hopes and prospects for the club site.
Two years on it has been discovered that we the rate payers of this shire did no pay $2.7M we actually paid $2.73M + cost. It has also been revealed that the behind closed door motion to buy the property at the Council meeting on Tuesday 26th April 2016 has resulted in Council getting a wrap over the knuckles for failing to tell the ratepayers what transpired in the Confidential Session.
The purchase of the Batemans Bay Bowling Club site remains a hot topic as it would appears there was no business plan for the purchase of this site - what good business person would do this you might ask?
At last Tuesday's Council meeting I asked Clr. Lindsay Brown about a statement he had previously made over possible expenditure for much need upgrade on the toilets at Albert Ryan Park where he stated 'WE DON'T HAVE THE MONEY" At Tuesday's Council meeting I specifically asked the question ''If we don't have the money is it due to the fact that WE the Rate Payers of this shire are paying interest on the $2million dollar loan for the purchase of the Bowling Club when Clr. Lindsay Brown was Mayor, and lets not forget that the actual purchase price was actually $2.73million plus cost and over a 2 year period we have paid I believe $80,000 in interest''.
I also asked the question ''Why was this loan was taken out at all, why pay interest above a rate that maybe achieved on interest funds where there is no opportunity for a Tax Deduction and the Council as an entity has nearly $100 million dollars in investments?''.
At night driving past the Batemans Bay Bowling Club site there is a light on at the front of the building that can be seen from the highway, it is a sad case of ''lights on but no one is home'' and as someone recently said to me ''a bit like some of our elected councilors'.
Rate Payers of this shire; how can we celebrate our 2 years anniversary when many would embrace $80,000 that is being paid in interest that could otherwise have been allocated to various needs within our community.
I do applaud the regular 'grey nomads' taking the opportunity to stay overnight in the sites car park in their various caravans, mobile homes and fifth wheelers but surely by now this Council should be able to provide to the Rate Payers of this shire details of any signed agreement by the RMS for the rental of this site?
I also tried to state at the Council Meeting ''That I understand that a group of business people have offered to purchase the Bowling Club site. My view is the following: Put this site out to tender and sell it as it has caused to much conflict in the community........'' I was only able to get part of my statement read as Clr.Lindsay Brown beckoned to the General Manager that I had digressed, this was then relayed to Deputy Mayne who was chairing the meeting. This occurred twice during my presentation and the interesting thing is the microphone I was using stopped working just as I was making my last statement and thanks to Clr. McGinlay I was able to repeat part of it.
I believe Clr. Brown needs to put his hand up and claim ownership of this decision to purchase the Bowling Club Site and he needs to advise the Rate Payers of this shire of the Business Plan (if there was one) and what is was?
For and on behalf of the Eurobodalla Concerned Citizens