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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Now Council are proposing an International Water polo pool of 30.6m

I attended a Batemans Bay Indoor Aquatic Committee General meeting last night. There were ten people in attendance including three Fight for Batemans Bays 50 m pool Team , the President of PerfEx (Dr Sue Mackenzie) , Belinda Shalders the newly appointed Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Pool Manager of all three sites being BBay, Moruya & Narooma & guest speaker Eurobodalla Council's Director Lindsay Usher. Chairperson, (President of BBIAC) Caroline Harding, after dealing with administrative items introduced the guest speaker,Eurobodalla Council's Director Lindsay Usher to take questions regarding the three displayed concept plans of the proposed B.B. Aquatic /Arts Complex being the ones that had recently been on display at the ESC information kiosks. The aim of this meeting was for BBIAC members & others from the general public to once again complete more surveys (as many as they liked even if they’d already completed 10 or more or attended exclusive meetings with the architects ). Attendees began to verbalise their suggestions which led to a break down in the meeting with Director Usher, rather than the chairperson quickly taking control, appearing to field only questions called out by the seven Batemans Bay Indoor Aquatic members present. often at the same time Of interest was the fact that Belinda Shalders, the newly appointed Eurobodalla Shire Council’s Pool Manager dominated the verbal exchanges with Director Usher NOTE: **** reference to member of the public removed on request **** When the question was proffered that there were no measurements on any of the plans Director Usher was asked if the plans were drawn to a scale? When the reply was given of “Yes” a smug response to the question of measurements was then offered by BBIA member yelling across the room, ” Maaate get yer ruler out & use the 25 metre pool as the scale! Too easy!” Director Usher said there wasn’t room for the measurements on the plans displayed to the public but that they did have them back at the office! He also said he had the costings from ESC’s quantity surveyors to compare with the costings from the architect’s quantity surveyors indicating they came in around 20% higher as costs are escalating. It was at $46 million in 2017 & was now beyond $51 million & the true accurate cost would not be known until Design Plans were drawn & issued for tender! Director Usher dismissed a suggestion that the people of Batemans Bay were not getting value for money when the new community of Taylor, a suburb in Canberra, was getting a super school for 1500+ students @ a cost of $54 million! Director Usher said that the building of Mackay Park would start at earliest April /May 2020 to enable schools to finish their swimming carnivals before the 50 m pool is demolished . It wasn’t that long ago when all members of BBIACC supported a 50 m pool. What happened to make them all change to support a 25 m pool ? A woman who was sitting in 2nd row from the front added to the cacophony by calling out across the room that although she agreed that it was important for the community to promote learn to swim programs as it was concerning that so few school children & even adults in our community can’t swim they’d only feel safe in a 25m pool which justifies a 25 m pool for B.Bay Another attendee contributed by saying “they’ll learn to swim by using the waterslide! “ But on the plans the waterslide & the learn to swim pools were outside and not enclosed for all year round use. This was pointed out to Director Usher when he asked me across the room what I had said to the person sitting next to me. I responded saying “It’s stupid to build learn to swim pools outside.” All agreed . Why on earth would Council Directors or the Project Coordinator waste good ratepayers’ money to pay for stupid concept plans again & again? Director Usher confirmed that $4 million had been spent on Mackay Park Project to date NOT from the $51 million government money but from ESC funds. He stated that the $26 million ($18 m for Aquatic & $8 m for PerfEx ) NSW State money had been signed off & the $25 m federal grant was about to be. Interestingly Director Usher said that the 25 m pool would be constructed as an international short course pool including specifications to comply as an international competition water polo 🤽‍♀️ pool!

ABOVE: Fina short course dimensions. 25 x 18.9 x 2.13 = 1006m3 of water Council however proposes a 10 lane pool: 25 x 18.9 + 2.13 +2.13 (for 2 more lanes) x 2.13 = 1233 m3 Note below a standard 50m pool is 2500 m3

Now we hear from the Director Lindsay Usher the intention to make the pool an competitive water polo facility as well. Director Usher appears to now be suggesting a pool 30m x 25m as per FINA regulations

Above: specifications to comply as an international competition water polo 🤽‍♀️ pool! That equals 1,629 m3 of water Now that must be to tick the box for sporting infrastructure to secure the Federal grant because a 25 m pool alone would not qualify & meet the conditions for the $25 m federal grant (sneaky eh! ). Suggestion: just include an Olympic pool & it would qualify for the Federal sports grant without the need to tell ‘porky pies’. I learnt later that the real reason BBIACC changed to support a 25 m pool was fear ! Yes fear of getting nothing ie. "take what Council is giving you or you will get nothing!" So that’s what they did . They sold out the swimming club & all Olympic pool swimmers forever. The Council have stealthfully intimidated them & even coerced them to take up the war against FFBB50 m Pool Group. An Olympic pool would not cost much more than a square 10 lane wide 25 m pool to build or in recurrent annual running costs. Council will not release these figures even though MP Andrew Constance has requested that the Mayor direct The General Manager, Dr. Catherine Dale, to provide them plus running costs of each of the other 5 water bodies included in the plans for public scrutiny. Director Usher said in answer to a question about a blow out in costs for foundations that this was known for over a year & wasn’t why costs were now exceeding $51 million. He said that too many facilities were being added to the plans. He agreed with Stephen Phipps who sent his apologies for not being able to attend the meeting last night that, “ Some things will have to go! We will have to build to meet the $51 million budget! “ Surveys on-line or hard copy close on 17th Feb. Mayor Innes also sent her apologies.

NOTE: Comments were TRIALED - in the end it failed as humans will be humans and it turned into a pile of merde; only contributed to by just a handful who did little to add to the conversation of the issue at hand. Anyone who would like to contribute an opinion are encouraged to send in a Letter to the Editor where it might be considered for publication

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