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Knee jerk reactive planning offers Batemans Bay little in the way of vision as the "gateway&quo


The Beagle Editor,

Further to the letter published yesterday regarding the Mackay Park/Hanging Rock development saga, it may be time to remind the readers of a few facts.

Following Council’s purchase of the Batemans Bay Bowling club for ‘strategic’ purposes (whatever that means) in April 2016 on behalf of the COMMUNITY, council called for Expressions of Interest from the public in relation to the development of the BOWLING CLUB site NOT THE SWIMMING COMPLEX.

Prior to this purchase for the COMMUNITY’S BENEFIT, Council carried out extensive ‘consultations’ with the community regarding a development at Hanging Rock NOT THE REDEVELOPMENT OF THE SWIMMING COMPLEX or the Bowling Club site.

Council called for Expressions of Interest to tender for the Mackay Park precinct from consultants in December 2016 AFTER the Sunset Committee had been hand picked by (?) just prior to the Christmas break.

Otium from Queensland were appointed as the preferred consultant in record time ie January 2017 and apparently came up with the first ‘concept plan’ in February 2017. Very efficient but why a Queensland mob? And what was their ‘brief’?

This concept plan was not revealed to the Mackay Park Redevelopment Sunset Committee until June/July 2017 when it was unveiled by Mr Usher to Perfex at the Starfish Deli.

All those in attendance – and later on the entire swimming community and schools - were shocked to learn that:

  1. There was no 50m pool proposed

  2. The two vastly different aquatic/arts facilities were to be joined together on the SWIMMING COMPLEX AND NOT THE BOWLING CLUB SITE.

For council to claim that the ‘community’ had been consulted on the redevelopment of the ‘Mackay Park Precinct’ is a joke and needs to be called out. And Council MUST come clean on exactly why, without any public consultation at all, they walked away from a design and and a motion of Council to go ahead at Hanging Rock. Who advised this? Where is the motion that canned Hanging Rock after all that effort, all those community submissions, all the expense of drawing up plans and the commitment of Council to establish funds in its budget. Something smells here. At no time prior to the unveiling of the concept plan was it on anyone’s radar that council intended getting rid of the 50m pool. When this was put to Clr Jack Tait, his response was ‘I DON’T GIVE A STUFF WHETHER IT’S A 25m POOL OR A 50M POOL’. We know Jack, you don’t give a stuff but we do! A Brief prepared by us on behalf of approximately 5,000 people including local private/public schools, surf life saving clubs, athletic clubs, Aboriginal elders, Swimming NSW, PSSA, CWA and professional coaches etc was presented to council and Andrew Constance in November 2017. Constance instructed the mayor to revise the costings. We are still waiting on those ‘revised costings’. Despite the fact that council claims it would cost an extra $300,000 to run a 50m pool over and above a 25m pool, they have failed to advise the actual running costs of a 25m pool or any of the other water bodies in the proposed facility. Now is the time for the new councillors to ask the old guard of Innes, Brown and Pollock as well as Usher, Sharpe and Dale for a full report on why the Hanging Rock concept plans, that were formally moved by Council, have NOT been actioned and on whose authority it was decided to move the proposed aquatic centre and performance space to the the Bowling Club site only to then see it moved again to the pool site. Bring on the next elections.

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