Dear Beagle Editor,
Recently re-elected Member for Bega Andrew Constance has thanked his volunteers and people who voted for him [Beagle Online March 25] and acknowledged publicly that “the community is responding to local issues and they expect their local member to fight hard”. Andrew you are very aware that one of those local issues in Batemans Bay is the exclusion of a 50m pool in the Mackay Park Aquatic Arts & Leisure Centre. You have been aware of this since November 2017. You are also aware that some groups withdrew their support for the Mackay Park Aquatic Arts & Leisure Centre when they discovered a 50m pool was not in the plans. A brief from 2017 to prove support for a 50m pool and a lack of support for a 25m pool was resent to you on Monday the 25th March
In your 5th term as the Member for Bega you have promised “to fight harder than when you were first elected”. Your government has announced $26 million in funding and this week $25 million has been announced by the Federal government. This is welcome news. However the community has yet to see a business case.
In your 16th year as the Member for Bega you must be aware of Eurobodalla Council’s lack of transparency and their selective “consultation” process. Their record of open and transparent community consultation is abysmal. Comment by Director of Planning Lindsay Usher that “a 50 metre Olympic Pool for Batemans Bay was now future proofed and would be drawn into plans by the architects for future expansion” is welcomed...but where is the evidence? Mayor Innes, Director of Planning Lindsay Usher, General Manager Catherine Dale, other Senior staff and 7 out of 9 Councillors have spent the last 18 months telling the community that “we can’t afford a 50 metre pool.”
In addition Mayor Innes comments that the Batemans Bay Community Centre will have to be sold to help pay for the new facility are alarming. The community does not support this decision. Nor do they support the reduction of theatre space from 500 seats to 350 seats.
Local Government is not owned by the local member, or the State government, or the Councillors. Local Government is owned by the community. In this respect will you “fight harder” to represent the community on this local issue and give an undertaking that Council will provide a transparent business case that looks at the projected costs of building, running and sustaining the centre to ensure it does not become a financial strain or a white elephant?
We understand that the financial failure/success of Mackay Park Aquatic Arts and Leisure Centre as an affordable facility in a fixed income area is your responsibility.
Please consider - your government sold a public asset that is partly funding this project. The Regional Growth Fund is for projects in regional communities. Without enough lap pool space and theatre space you are expecting members of the community to accept being excluded from a facility they have helped pay for.
Save Batemans Bays 50m Pool
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