Council asked to come clean: Was the Bay Bowlo a Speculative Purchase
The Beagle Editor,
There‘s still plenty of public comment about the Council’s purchase of the yet publicly unexplained reason for the purchase of the now Old Batemans Bay Bowling club site.
A site, or purchase of the site was identified by as a strategic purchase by the Councils General manager at one point. Another claim was it is a Gateway Site and another, ‘We had no Choice’ but to purchase it statement was forthcoming from a councillor. The idea of it being a ‘Gateway Site’ really is a poor excuse for a speculative purchase. It’s an appealing gateway look, now isn’t it ?
The ‘We had no Choice’ response received verbally by a couple of the Councillors at the time, needs further investigation and perhaps speculation on. The reason for the speculative, likely or possible reasons for the still publicly unexplained purchase, could be linked to a mayors undeliverable promises and business connections, attempting to be re elected Mayor in September 2016. Everything was done behind closed doors. Council paid $2.7m without a current valuation when Leslight an Pollock advised them it wasn't worth more than $1.5m When it came down to voting to buy it Innes, Brown, Schwartz and Burnside were for and Harding, Brice and Leslight against with Pollock absent. The motion to buy was as a Mayoral Minute in a confidential session that was not minuted until Council was forced to. Brown asked the community what they wanted on the old bowling club site. This is now widely viewed as tokenism because the next thing we saw were those ideas of performance space and heated pool plonked where the 50m pool is now. Then the community hears Council are proposing to sell the Batemans Bay community centre and replace it with a meeting room instead in the new complex and charging twice the hire fee. Then we hear one of the spaces in the new complex will be an Information booth after they sell off the Information Centre over the road. The zoning of the bowling club was changed straight after Council bought it that will make it easier for them to sell the site after the RMS has finished with it as a headquarters for the new bridge build. It is understood an offer of $2.7m still stands to purchase the site by a local consortium and Council staff have indicated that they will be selling it because their idea of a public private partnership Gateway with bus depot, conference room, retail, visitor centre and seniors living has failed. So did they buy the land in speculation. Is what we have now with the Aquatic centre, with the removal of the Mini Golf, the selling of the community centre and information centre their eventual back room plan and we are all just bunnies being taken for a ride?