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Council begins to flounder in the deep end: beware the Bondi cigars


In formally welcoming the grant funding of $25m for the Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre, from the Commonwealth Government under their Regional Growth Fund the General Manger of Eurobodalla Council has told Councillors: "This project is as a result of comprehensive strategic work supported by the Eurobodalla Integrated Economic Growth and Development Strategy, the Batemans Bay Visioning Workshop, and the Otium Business Case for Mackay Park. "Residents and visitors can anticipate an improved quality of life due to increased access to educational, cultural and social opportunities as a result of this project.Further, access to a cultural and arts facility has been proven to help foster a more socially inclusive environment, through education and participation in opportunities for personal growth. "The infrastructure development will be an iconic addition to Council’s infrastructure located at the gateway to our region. It will make Eurobodalla a more attractive place to live and visit, drive economic growth and create jobs. Dr Dale has told the councillors in her report "Revitalisation of the CBD as a result of the new facility will provide social benefit while building on the region's important tourism, retail and recreation sectors. Residents and visitors can anticipate an improved quality of life due to increased access to educational, cultural and social opportunities as a result of this project." While acceptance of the funding will be formally acknowledged it will now come down to the detail including an accurate business plan being produced as the Otium Business Case referred to has little if any significance on the new concept plans to be tabled that are miles away from the original Option voted on by councillors. Next Tuesday will see Councillors asked to vote on the recommendation that : A concept plan and financial analysis be developed for the Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre (Concept D). The recommendation is part of a report on the survey results received on the three Concept plans put out for public comment. Of interest in this report is the elephant in the room being the missing 50m pool Council states in their report on the survey results that Council was not engaging on this issue saying: "Council has previously made the decision, after considering community views and independent professional advice, not to include a 50m pool in the proposed development. Whilst this may not be agreeable to some members of the community, Council has been clear as to the reasons for this. It is essential that the development meets the broadest needs of the community and that the proposed development be affordable." BULLSHIT 1: "Council has been clear as to the reasons for this". This is actually bullshit of the first order as Council has been less than clear and have been lees than willing to provide any open transparent substantiation of their continued claim that a 50m pool would cost $6.5m more to build with an annual extra running cost of $300,000. They have been challenged often and asked several times for evidence of this but have refused relying instead on parroting the Otium Business Case that states:


Above: extract from Otium Business Case

While they are quoting from the Otium Business case (extract above) that business case clearly states in its Disclaimer: Neither Otium Planning Group, nor any member or employee of Otium Planning Group, nor any subconsultants engaged in the preparation of this report assumes any legal liability or responsibility for the accuracy, completeness, or usefulness of the content of this report. Otium also states: Further, once the preferred design option and financial modelling has been approved and finalised, an assessment of the economic impact of the facility should be undertaken by Council to support any applications for external funding. COUNCIL did NOT do this. They went ahead and made application for external funding. They also went out of their way to block public access to the NSW grant application that would reveal what the content of their business case was. As yet they have no preferred and endorsed design facility option and therefore have no relevant financial modelling, having long walked away from the endorsed Otium Design Option 2. Yet without an accurate assessment of the economic impact of the facility they still lodged the Otium Business Plan for external funding knowing that it stated: Readers should be aware that the preparation of this report may have necessitated projections of the future that are inherently uncertain and that our opinion is based on the underlying representations, assumptions and projections detailed in this ‘point in time’ report. Those projections on income were based on, for example,


Above: 127,276 people to use the Aquatic area every year = 348 people every single day paying $8.50 per visit Council is currently proposing an increase pool use fee to casual $5.50 or 20 Multi use of $100 NOTE: This is just one of many questionable projections that affect anticipated income. Theatre attendances and cafe returns are another that forecast a net loss of $600,000 plus per year based on Polly Anna attendace numbers.

BULLSHIT 2: "Whilst a number of people .." Council states in their report on the survey results: "Whilst a number of people raised the absence of a 50m pool in the concepts, it needs to be acknowledged that Council was not engaging on this issue. Council has previously made the decision, after considering community views and independent professional advice, not to include a 50m pool in the proposed development. Whilst this may not be agreeable to some members of the community, Council has been clear as to the reasons for this. It is essential that the development meets the broadest needs of the community and that the proposed development be affordable." On the 50m issue the survey results indicate far more than "a number of people." In stating "Whilst a number of people raised the absence of a 50m pool in the concepts, it needs to be acknowledged that Council was not engaging on this issue." In actual fact Council was engaging in this issue by ignoring the feedback of the community at the time of the survey . At the kiosks they were having to defend the decision to not provide a 50m pool time and time again, radio interviews, letters to the editor, and even the Mayor recently on TV indicating Council has heard the community and will now provide a location within the Mackay Park precinct that a 50m might one day occupy. The survey results return over 250 comments regarding the 50m pool that Council was not engaging in discussing so to refer to this response as being from "a number of people" is bullshit.

From the public Survey results:




Now lets look at the comments from "a number of people"








#Opinion

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