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Mackay Park drilling commences

The Beagle Editor, Council reported this week that geotechnical work has commenced at Mackay Park. Put simply, it entails engineers and surveyors and the drilling of boreholes so that soil profiles can be extracted and examined. Ground conditions at the site will then be recorded for detailed planning purposes prior to excavation for the proposed Regional Aquatic & Arts/Cultural Precinct. Arrival at this stage, invites reflection on the abysmal way in which our Council handled the challenge of public consultation on Mackay Park and in particular their very unpopular decision to ignore strong community views by not including a 50-metre pool in the redevelopment. We heard the ridiculous assertions by our Mayor that, after more than 50 years of enjoying an Olympic swimming pool, our community is to have it taken away because “we cannot afford it” and “no-one wants 50-metre pools anymore”. This is a council driven by ideology, rather than by a desire to meet the needs and expectations of ratepayers. It is rapidly drifting towards a morass of ineptitude and incompetence. The Fight to Save Batemans Bay’s 50m Pool Team, also presenting as Our Town Our Say (OTOS) has taken the fight to Council ever since consultants produced a concept plan omitting a 50-metre pool in favour of a 25-metre pool and associated water play areas. Throughout the lively discussions, meetings and correspondence that have arisen on this vexed issue, Council has had its head in the sand, demonstrating a preference for secrecy and obfuscation over openness and democratic process. The opposing resolutions of a public meeting of 120 concerned citizens on 15 February failed to raise even an eyebrow at Council. Only last week, after many months of polite insistence by OTOS representatives, did Council release a Site Inspection Report, assessing the state of the pool in 2014 and recommending a program of works to bring it up to contemporary standards and conditions. The “pea and thimble” and blame-shifting game played by the General Manager and other council executives on this matter was incredible, to say the least, and appeared to be designed purely to frustrate OTOS and anyone else who dared questions Council’s motive or process. An election is looming in NSW and of course there’s a faint whiff of pork in the air. A preparatory squeal was heard in late March, as the Premier and Minister Constance arrived here amid much Council-organised fanfare, to announce that $26m of a required $46.3m would be coming from the NSW Government for Mackay Park – that is, assuming they do win the next election. Our Mayor - never one to miss a photo-op was front and centre. Simply fantastic, amazing and exciting! Whatever is unearthed by the Geotechnical work now underway at Mackay Park, you can bet it wont be treasure troves of troubled consciences or caches of remorse – more likely, strands of broken promises reflecting Council’s failure to observe its own Community Engagement Framework. OTOS is convening a second public meeting at Batemans Bay Soldiers Club on Tuesday 29th May at 5:30PM to provide an update on the pool issue. All concerned residents are invited to come along and have their say. Also included on the agenda for 29th May are the topics of Council’s Sea Level Rise Policy and Our Future Health Services. There will be experts speaking on these and all three topics are certain to generate considerable interest. Creating even further interest will be a lucky door prize to the value of $300, generously donated by Clyde Computers at the Village Centre, Batemans Bay. John Mobbs,

From L-R, Coral Anderson, John Mobbs, Peter Coggan, Maureen Searson Anyone wishing to keep up with the OTOS conversation can find them on Facebook at https://www.facebook.com/OurTownOurSay/