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Pool Politics

The Beagle Editor,

There is an article in the Bay Post, dated 21st January, that sounds like it was dictated by a council staffer justifying council’s outrageous and indefensible past actions and current plans for the Mackay park Precinct in Batemans Bay.

The numbers quoted seem to put the case that only council’s concept plans are affordable; they do not mention the costings and alternate layouts prepared professionally by qualified pool designers and presented to council nearly two years ago that show that an Olympic pool can be fitted in the same footprint as the Odium concepts and that there are more modern, more efficient and less expensive operational systems than those specified in these early concepts. For some reason the council is still persisting (below) in saying that a 50 metre pool requires expensive fibreglass dividers - this is nonsense and only adds to their inflated idea of what the aquatic facilities should cost. “It would not be possible to incorporate a 50-metre indoor pool without significantly increasing the size of the pool building. Incorporating an additional 26.5 x 28 metres of pool space (this includes a 1.5m fibreglass bulkhead to enable the pool to be divided, and a minimum four-metre concourse on both sides) will add up to 742sqm to the roof structure and additional walls. “(It) would also significantly increase the costs associated with the plant room’s specifications for water circulation, treatment and filtration. (It) would increase the operating costs due to the additional staff required to supervise. There are also increased costs such as chemicals, materials and energy.” Council spokesperson quotes provide to the Bay Post

It is noted that council’s past assertions about the unaffordability of anything other than their ideas, are now being supported by figures showing that the bigger building and pool even on their inflated costings and including the unnecessary divider, would cost the average rate bill an extra 25 cents per week – the plans and costings submitted an alternative would have cost nothing extra! Past mayors have cited proposed rises in relation to the cost of a cup of coffee – how come 25 cents is such a big deal now?

Consider too, how come council is so concerned now about adding costs to ratepayers when they have gone out and commissioned yet another set of concept plans, now with reduced indoor facilities, smaller community and performing spaces that are almost certainly going to prevent the complex attracting sufficient users to be at all viable………….. and this on top of having wasted our money in the first place on the purchase of the old bowling club nearly three years ago and still with no purpose!

The mayor might need reminding that she was first elected to council as a representative of the Eurobodalla Ratepayers Association whose platform included the implementation of an independent review of council’s expenditure and she made similar statements during the 2016 pre-election period. Such a review would probably find savings in excess of the 25 cents per week per rateable property if there was still a political will for being effective!

Please councillors, stop all the political carry-on and pause the spending until some use or the old bowlo site is found which can be integrated into an overall master plan for the Batemans Bay CBD area along with the bridge caused need for foreshore development and revised traffic/parking arrangements.

Jeff de Jager



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