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Wake up Batemans Bay

The Beagle Editor, When you look at the concept plans for the new Mackay Park try to find the community meeting rooms that Council are giving us in return for us giving them permission to sell our Batemans Bay Community Hall. To make it easier the Beagle editor helped make this drawing where you can see the size of our hall and then see what they are offering. In option C they are offering nothing at all.

Above: The existing Batemans Bay Community hall - then see what they plan to give us instead. For those who don't know it the Batemans Bay Community Centre is a spacious facility which has 3 meeting rooms, a large hall and kitchen available for hire.It is a versatile venue which is suitable for events, small or large activity groups and meetings.and is wheelchair accessible, including having an accessible toilet and parking

Let's not forget that Council has told us they are committed to selling the information centre and also the community centre that will move U3A and all the current users of the hall like the Thursday community markets over to the new Mackay Park facility.

Above: Big difference between how much we pay now and how much they want. In the new building the closest fee they could show us was "For meetings and seminars only requiring one staff member the charge would be for 4 hours at $160" The consultants we met were decent enough to ask us users what we wanted and we told them about our dear community owned hall and how it is used and what it has in it and that we just wanted to have access to the same things.

Our Community hall has a

  • Kitchen

  • Enclosed courtyard

  • Fixed outdoor electric BBQ

  • Reverse cycle air conditioning

  • PA system

  • Committee room: a small meeting room with lino flooring which is suitable for 3 to 5 people

  • Display area: a medium sized meeting room with a capacity of 10 to 15 people and access to tea and coffee making facilities.

  • Meeting room 1 and 2: The capacity of the room is 30 people and it has tea and coffee making facilities, a small fridge, access to the kitchen and carpet flooring.

  • Hall 1 and 2: The full hall has a capacity of 200 people and the half hall has a capacity of 50 to 90 people. Both have access to the kitchen and timber flooring.

  • 25 tables

  • 120 chairs

  • 2 portable whiteboards

  • 1 portable DVD/VCR player

  • 1 portable television

  • 1 wall mounted television in the meeting room

  • Small portable stage

And they give us a tiny second-thought room instead. Let's never forget that our mayor, Liz Innes, before the last election when she was standing for Councillor and Community Action Alliance said that she will "move to sell the Batemans Bay Beach Resort to help fund an all-year-round heated pool for Batemans Bay." The Bay Post reported on September 6th, 2016 “The people of Batemans Bay have waited way too long for a modern heated pool,” she said on Facebook. “A year-round swimming facility will allow many groups to continue their favourite sport in winter. “Swim clubs, school learn to swim programs and hydrotherapy classes will all be accommodated.” “Council’s past response to those community groups raising funds for an upgraded pool has been unsympathetic. “Consultants’ cost estimates have been too high because their proposals have been over the top. We can’t afford a comprehensive leisure centre but, with some rearrangement of assets, I believe we can afford a new heated pool.” “Funds could come from the sale of the Batemans Bay Beach Resort. I believe that the council no longer needs to own this four star caravan park. Its upgrading is now completed. However, she does not say that the sale would pay for the pool on its own.“I have never said that stated this would pay for the site in full,” she said. “We do not know yet the costing of a new pool or aquatic centre. “The reason it is a must is that firstly it has cost the shire’s ratepayers millions. Secondly, the council should not be in direct competition with its ratepayers in business." There it is..... "some rearrangement of assets" includes selling the Information Centre and our Community Centre. Look at the concept plans and the first thing you see much bigger than any community space and meeting rooms is the gymnasium. The Mayor said in 2016 "Secondly, the council should not be in direct competition with its ratepayers in business."

Now the council wants to be in competition with six other gyms in Batemans Bay and in competition with the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club who have a 500 seat theatre/performance space. What isn't clear is exactly who is going to run their 350 seat theatre? PerFex are not producers. They don't put on any performances. Is this a case of "if you build it they will come". Don't think so. David McLauglan, bless his socks, told us that not even the Bananas in Pajamas would come to a theatre of 350 for a one off show. "It isn't worth their while". Touring companies need venues of 600 or more to be financially viable. Last weekend Shakespeare in the Gardens only paid $300 per night to hire the garden lawns. We were originally told the new theatre would have two sets of hiring rates: Community @$700 per day and Standard/Commercial @$800 and that standard operations would state that a staff member is present at all times that the venue is in use and if full staffing is required (Front of House, ushers and technician) then this would be charged back plus a loading and roughly set at $600. Costing that much before you even sell a ticket makes you wonder if it will be attractive to regional tours. Otium in their business model estimated 55% of capacity sold for each performance at an average ticket price of $35 full and $22 concession of the total sold 30% full price and 25% concession. That means for any One Day only (setup-pulldown) performance it will cost: $800 hire + $600 staff - $1400 If, as they say, it is only 55% capacity sold that gives $6720 - $1400 = $5320 for a show that has to also pay for lighting, sound, transport and setup-pulldown labour plus food and accommodation. Ask yourself why we don't have touring companies knocking down our doors. We don't have the audience numbers and if there is a tour coming through the audience wants cheaper tickets, a bar, facilities, food, parking and definitely not a foyer full of dripping kids in Speedos reeking of chlorine. Why do we need two stages in Batemans Bay? You would expect the Council to have responded already with a Draft Halls Strategy that dictates that all performances in the Shire will be held at the RSL Hall in Moruya just like they told swimmers that from now on if you want to swim 50m then go to Narooma. What is wrong with the RSL Hall in Moruya for community run performances? Nothing at all that a bit of a spruce up couldn't fix. Texas Dave hosted 41 International acts there and all to full houses. So ask yourself if the Mackay Park Centre is going to have a Regional Performance space why does it have to be in Batemans Bay rather than central to "the region" and why does it have to be stuck on the side of a swimming pool as if a dizygotic twin? What happened to the Batemans Bay Bowling Club site Councillor Lindsay Brown? You came to Batemans Bay with all your electioneering promises that have amounted to nothing. Remind us. Didn't you buy the old Bowling Club a performance space and community centre and hydrotherapy pool? Now you and all your councillors are going to sell it and squeeze everything instead into the old pool site and rip away our local 50m pool as well as getting rid of the Mini Golf with a big payout paid by us ratepayers. And all after the forums where we were asked what we wanted and we told you clear as day then you turn around and give us a room half the size we can rent for twice the amount. Just a mater of time before you will tell us you need more money to feed your Baby White Elephant and push up our rates again to cover your losses. .... "there will be no special rate variation in the term of this council". People, we have been well and truly double crossed and they are getting away with it with all their double-speak. Go and ask them questions this week. The information kiosks will be held on Thursday and Friday at the Village Centre. name and address supplied


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