The Beagle Editor, Yesterday we saw the Bay Post asking the Mayor three questions posed by their readers. Q: What is going to happen to the Mini Golf?
Q: Why a 25-metre pool, not a 50-metre pool?
Q: Will the new centre bring employment opportunities?
The Mayor's response to the mini golf was “If you have a look at the different concepts, unfortunately, the whole space will be needed to accommodate the arts and aquatic space." The first time the public was made aware of the disappearance of the 50 metre pool was in the set of concept plans drawn up by council's consultants nearly two years ago. Now, only recently the mini-golf has disappeared in the latest consultant's plans. The initial plans had everything the latest plans show plus the mini-golf in the same overall space. Following these initial plans, an alternate plan was drawn up by an independent, qualified pool designer showing that an Olympic size pool could be accommodated in the same space. He also expressed his opinion that the costings used by council were over the top and that the technology used in the concepts were outdated and inefficient. Council has ignored these alternate plans.
When asked "Why a 25-metre pool, not a 50-metre pool?" the Mayor has once again rolled out her stock standard rhetoric.saying "The extra 25-metres, the reality of the costs involved are a $6.5 million extra build. When we’re looking at a $51 million facility, that’s a substantial amount. Most importantly, it’s $300, 000 extra per year in running costs." The extra costs used by council to favour their choice of a 25 metre pool are for a 50 metre pool with a removable barrier - something unnecessary and overly expensive when all the other facilities can cater for other users simultaneously. The serious swimming users of the facilities have unanimously rejected the concept that a 25 metre pool can satisfy their needs. These groups include the swimming clubs, Surf Life Savers (who need winter stamina training venues), and schools. We should be looking forward to producing Olympic standard swimmers with our own shire based facility that can be used all year. Many of these serious swimmers are travelling to Ulladulla for the better facilities and coaches available all year round.
The question of "Will the new centre bring employment opportunities?" was only partly answered by the Mayor saying “During the construction phase there will be considerable employment opportunities, but also when the facility is up and running there should be some potential for employment in this space”. Employment opportunities in the future, like the prospect of maximum revenue from pool resources, will only occur if the facilities meet the needs of the maximum number of potential users and do so all year round. Limiting the appeal and revenue by installing a 25 metre pool and placing half the features outdoors will be counter-productive and overly expensive. Several other features of the early concepts seem to have disappeared - the tourist information centre, the long-distance bus interchange and many of the community centre activity spaces. These all would bring paying customers to the centre along with employment opportunities - as would an Olympic size pool! Jeff de Jager Coila