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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Clarification on how the Hanging Rock Aquatic Centre was dumped and an insight into the Mackay Park

On 23 October 2018 in a presentation by the editor of the Beagle to Council it was asserted that a Motion regarding the Hanging Rock Master Plan and Business Plan still stands, has never been acted upon nor has it been formally rescinded. Questions were also raised as to whether staff, under delegated authority, ignored a very clear direction from councillors, representing the wishes of the community.

A Council representative has responded advising that: "Councillors were briefed in July 2015 (Batemans Bay Bowling Club Discussion Paper) and later in a report to the Ordinary Meeting of Council on 22 November 2016 (Batemans Bay Mackay Park Precinct Redevelopment). One of the key recommendations of the report, was that Council 'Proceeds with preparation of concept plan and business case documents for the preferred mix of development outcomes, including an aquatic strategy to guide aquatic centre development in the context of Eurobodalla aquatic centres and a background document outlining what an arts and cultural facility for the broader precinct could include, also in the context of arts and cultural facilities throughout Eurobodalla.'

The representative added "Bearing in mind the above points, please be advised that councils are able to change their decisions by way of a later decision. In other words, an earlier decision is superceded by a later decision. The courts have held that it is not always essential that a council expressly alter or rescind a resolution prior to passing a later resolution, which is inconsistent or in conflict with the earlier resolution. In other words, alteration or rescission can be implied — Everall v Ku-ring-gai Municipal Council (1991) 72 LGRA 369. On that basis, Council believes the original Motion regarding the Hanging Rock Master Plan and Business Plan, was overtaken by subsequent events and no longer stands nor is required to be acted upon." The October 2018 presentation by the editor of the Beagle offered to councillors : "The project, costed at $46m, has already blown out to $51m because of inflation. It is known that councillors have also been warned that the facility will need to be heavily subsidised with an average expected loss of $790,000 per year and further loss of $1.3m annually in depreciation." Council's representative has advised the following response "The terminology you used regarding the increase in project costs is incorrect. All multi-year projects in both the public and private sector are escalated on a regular basis to take into account ongoing cost changes for such things as inflation, variations in currency rates, etc. These changes are not a cost blow-out but simply an update on the original project cost."

The Council representative then offered "Council has, under the offer put forward by NBRS Architecture, utilised the expertise of an experienced business analyst. The work being undertaken is not exclusively reviewing the costings originally provided by Otium but looking at the changes being proposed as the design of the facility evolves. The broad scope of the facility remains unchanged although some internal aspects are being reviewed to best deliver an outcome that reflects the needs of the broader community. As this changes, it is prudent for Council to ensure the services being offered and ability for Council to be able to operate the new facility into the future, are evaluated and ratified. This in no way reflects on the work undertaken by Otium nor does it suggest that the outcomes provided in the report, including the draft Aquatic Strategy, are incorrect."

"Council has been speaking with a number of other councils across Australia, who are operating similar facilities, to better understand take-up rates, services offered and pricing structures. This information has Council well positioned to understand the cost to operate the facility."

Of interest was the response "Your assertion regarding the lack of community consultation and the link to the 50 metre pool are incorrect. Council considered community views, independent professional advice, information from other operators of aquatic centres, operating costs and budget implications to decide on a concept which best meet the broadest of community needs in an affordable manner."

Narooma Pool To remain as Eurobodalla's regional 50m facility servicing the shire for sporting carnivals and endurance training as per Council's Aquatic Strategy.

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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