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After spending $1m on consultants Council still has no final plan or accurate business case for the


The Beagle Editor

Our council has now admitted one million dollars has to date, been spent on consultants advising on the ‘options’ that could allow council to ‘move forward’ with the proposed aquatic centre project for Batemans Bay. The admission of money spent to date does not include the Bowling Club Site purchase, or staff and councillors time associated with any of it so far. What is also implied is considerably more public funded expenditures will be required paying ‘Consultants’ etc. before anyone has a clue about what might eventually occur. The additional public funded expenditures will include the cost of of the ‘Mini Golf’ compensation payout, that is expected to remain secret as it is deemed commercial in confidence however this will be tested as the transaction is required to be documented in the annual financial report and the expenditure will have to be allowed for in the budget documents to be endorsed by councillors. As yet the negotiations for the buy out of the Mini Golf Lease are being conducted under delegated authority by the General Manger who has an open cheque as not limit to the payout has been agreed to by the councillors. In my recent letter requesting information from Council regarding the Batemans Bay Aquatics, Arts and Leisure Centre (BBAALC) development the General Manager, Catherine Dale responded: "To date, Council has spent $1 million on consultancy fees and advice in relation to the BBAALC development. Council undertook a competitive tender process for the design of the proposed BBAALC and the costs of those works are within the budget allocated in response to the original business case. "The mini golf negotiations are commercial in confidence. I can however state that at this time no payment has been made." It is of concern to learn that over $1m has been spent on consultancy fees and advice and that we have nothing at all to show for it with Concept D yet to be presented to the community after Otiums Option 1 and 2 and then Concept A, B and C. What we do know is that there is no Business Plan for the new Concept so we have no idea what the Concept will accommodate based on recent feedback and survey information. We do know however that the Concept D will recognise a location for a 50m pool into the future. While Councillors have removed the inclusion of a 50 metre pool from the scope of the Mackay Park project they have requested that the plan show how a 50 metre pool could be included on the site. Concept D will need to show where a 50 metre pool could be included in the future. The folly of Council pressing to remove the very popular Mini Golf from their Gateway to Batemans Bay is revealed in the report to Council on April 30th that said Concept D must allow an adequate space where Mini Golf could be located (subject to the outcome of current negotiations). Overall Council have spent in excess of $4m on the Mackay Park project to date with the inclusion of the purchase of the Batemans Bay Bowling Club and the community and councillors still have no idea what will be the outcome of the last round of "public consultation" and have no idea if it will have a dance studio, gymnasium, bigger or smaller kiosk or enough toilets to have a pee at intermission if you go to the theatre.

Allan Brown

Catalina

#Opinion #Council

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