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Was Council already plotting to remove the Batemans Bay 50m in 2013


A review of the report to Council on 14th May 2013 in regards to submissions received for an Aquatic Centre at Hanging Rock reveal that Council had already decided on the removal of the 50m pool in Batemans Bay. Council staff said summary that the decision to not provide a 50m pool at Hanging Rock was based on: 1. High cost of provision; 2. Limited use and flexibility of this large activity space; 3. High cost of operations and maintenance; 4. Limited market of fitness and competition swimmers; 5. Ability of 25m pools to meet many of the needs traditionally met by 50 metre pools; 6. Design flexibility and new features to maximise use of water areas. They failed to state however that another reason might well be that there was an existing 50m pool at Mackay Park. Why didn't the report mention the existing town pool? The report to councillors in May 2013 spelled the end of a 50m pool in Batemans Bay and it now appears that it was only a matter of time before the inevitable would come where the existing 50m pool would need to be replaced - with a 25m pool. In the May 2013 report, on the issue of : Submissions questioned the decision to include a 25m pool over a 50m pool. Council's May 2013 full response was: This remains a vexed issue for many communities. However, investigations by councils across Australia in recent years show that the decision to provide a 50m pool often comes at the expense of including high use, multipurpose, commercially viable water space. In addition, industry trends and facility audits show that the design and development of aquatic facilities has undertaken several major changes over the past 20 years. The primary focus for the design of aquatic facilities is now on indoor (sun smart, year round), leisure orientated facilities. The traditional “outdoor 50 meter” pool is becoming less relevant as this 1950’s style of facility age and lose their appeal generally resulting in increasing annual maintenance and dramatically reduced attendances. This reflects changes in participation trends and target markets which now primarily include recreational swimmers such as general residents and tourists, and specialist users groups such as learn to swim and hydrotherapy. Lap and competition swimmers now form a much smaller proportion of the user base. Further, there is a noticeable trend since the early 1980’s in Australian aquatic facility design and operation towards the integration of a wider range of expanded leisure facility services, such as café, merchandising/ retail, health and fitness centres, multi-purpose program spaces and meeting rooms, increased emphasis on leisure water and in some cases multi-purpose indoor courts. The combination of facilities into one integrated venue provides synergies in use and the potential for cross marketing between activities, whilst also providing a major identity as a leisure destination to the community. SIDE NOTE - The following is the wording from the Draft Clarence Valley Aquatic Facility Strategy March 2013 published two months before that appears to have been replicated in Councils report Further, there is a noticeable trend in Australian aquatic facility design and operation towards the integration of a wider range of expanded leisure facility services, such as café, merchandising/ retail, health and fitness centres, wellness, multi-purpose program spaces and meeting rooms, increased emphasis on ‘leisure water’ and, in many cases, multi-purpose indoor sports courts. The combination of facilities into one integrated venue provides synergies in use and the potential for cross marketing between activities, whilst also providing a major focus as a leisure destination for the community. This can result in increased throughput and activity at the venue and improved financial performance. This results in increased throughput and activity at the venue and improved financial performance. Including a 25m pool rather than a 50m pool allows opportunity to provide a range of different water spaces to cater for this change in industry and participation trends, the needs of recreational swimmers and specialist users as well as competition swimmers. It also serves to increase management efficiencies, decrease costs, offset operating loss, and increase usage. In summary, the decision to not provide a 50m pool is based on: 1. High cost of provision; 2. Limited use and flexibility of this large activity space; 3. High cost of operations and maintenance; 4. Limited market of fitness and competition swimmers; 5. Ability of 25m pools to meet many of the needs traditionally met by 50 metre pools; 6. Design flexibility and new features to maximise use of water areas. In addition, all three concepts show open space areas adjoining the proposed aquatic centre which could potentially be used for expansion should the need arise and be justified. The above proves that Council had determined long before the Mackay Park project that the existing Batemans Bay 50m pool was not going to be replaced based on industry trends and economic rationalism. This means that, at the time Council was talking with the community (late 2016 and 2017) in regards to what they wanted to do with the Batemans Bay Bowling Club, Council already knew that the 50m pool next door was destined to go and would be replaced with a 25m pool, carrying the rational they had established for Hanging Rock.


Has getting rid of the Batemans Bay 50m pool been a pawn in Council's plans since 2013?

#Opinion

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