Good morning Councillors I am speaking to you today on Agenda item PSR19/007 : Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic,Arts. And Leisure centre - Survey Results. Firstly , congratulations on obtaining the $51 million grant for this centre. It is noted that this is $4.7 million more than originally estimated from the Otium Planning Group report. In light of this 'extra money that has become available I fail to see why a 50m pool cannot be included in the final design (concept D) . Repeated requests have been made for council to provide comparative costs in relation to a 25m pool versus a 50m pool but to date no response has been forthcoming. Survey reports indicate that a total of 273 surveys were returned and whilst it was not councils or staff managing the kiosks intention to engage in discussion about the absence of a 50m pool from all three concepts , the fact that 266 !! people questioned the lack of it surely shows their disapproval of its absence. You only have to read the comments submitted to confirm this. Added to this only 52% stated they would use the centre once a week and only 37% using it three times a week with the 25m pool only winning out by only 1% from those who would rather have a coffee at the cafe and use the retail space. I therefore question - how does this facility expect to 'make ends meet' with this low projection ? At this stage it does not appear to be financially sustainable. The proposed Gym does not even get a mention here as being one of the 'most utilised' spaces and therefore should not even be considered in the preparation of a final design (D). There are enough Gyms in town after all. In a recent Win television interview Madam Mayor was quoted as saying a '50m pool might be put in in the future' . Are we going to simply see a dotted line printed on concept D ? Will Council develop a process to ensure ongoing engagement with the community throughout the final design and development phases of the facility ,and if so will no members of the community be excluded ? We have the money, we have the space. Do it right the first time so that no extra cost is wasted further down the track with a 'wait and see ' attitude. Do what the community have clearly indicated ,what the community is asking for , and that is a 50m pool included in the final concept D. The idea that 'if you build it they will come' is a beyond wonderful dream that will end up with the ratepayers having to bear the costs.
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