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  • Writer's pictureThe Beagle

Presentation: Dr Susan Mackenzie

AUDIO: Presentation of Dr Susan Mackenzie to the Ordinary Meeting of Eurobodalla Council Date: May 28th 2019 Under MOU with Eurobodalla Shire Council Creative Commons AttributionNonCommercial-NoDerivs 3.0 Australia more

Presentation to Eurobodalla Council meeting - 28th May 2019

My name is Dr Susan Mackenzie President of PerfEx Inc speaking on behalf of Perfex and the signatories to our petition.

I am speaking to Item no: PET19/001

This petition - to retain and maintain the Batemans Bay Community Centre for ongoing general community use - includes 983 signatures. Many more people have been appalled to hear of the Community Centre being under jeopardy, and I continue to receive more petition sheets (show 2 extra pages). This petition represents just under 9% of the local area population or 6.2% of the wider Bay population area (by the 2016 census**).

Does the community want lose the present Community Centre in exchange for a pool and a theatre centre?

This petition suggests not.

Otium suggested the option of the disposal of the Community Centre and the tourism centre; Council accepted their proposal. Does the community agree to that trade?

This petition suggests not.

We ask why you are going from a small family sedan to an SUV people mover so you can go camping twice a year, and then stop the kids playing local sport because you cannot afford the petrol to drive them there.

There seems some very short term thinking going on here.

What if the population, mostly above 60 and being active retirees engaged in the community, increases at the 18% rate predicted, and the Community Centre is gone? What then?

What legacy is being left to the next Council and the ones after that?

The Community Centre reaches the wider, nebulous demographic of the community; the pool and arts centre focusses on a sizeable but specific demographic.

You have said: "We will not raise rates to pay for this centre. We made a commitment to that, and we won’t sacrifice any of the elements because this facility needs to cater to everyone in our community," she said. Council newsletter Jan 2019

Yet that is precisely what you ARE doing.

We have already provided you with many practical reasons to keep and maintain the centre, including spreading traffic flow, public toilet accessibility away from the foreshore, affordability, access, etc

But as yet I have heard nothing from the Council other than to argue against keeping the CCentre, using the endless argument that it will increase costs to run four establishments – the pool centre, the arts centre, the tourist centre and the community centre.

How can you talk about costs when you have:

• an outdated business plan based on concepts plans that do not even exist any more;

• no final plan and

• projections of inclusions and costs that would exclude most of the community?

Council’s role is to provide for a viable, ongoing, inclusive community.

Now is the time to rethink the whole complex and the wider community impact, before anything is finally set in stone, and time to be more transparent with the community and its effects on them, now and into the future. This may require altering the aspirations of the Mackay Park facility. We understand that.

Like the Bowling Club, ostensibly bought ‘for the Community’ in 2016, and quickly made saleable to all and sundry by shifting it to ‘operational’ status, will we weep over an empty plot of land sold off for cheap, short-term gains, or hold onto this quiet, vital piece of community property, built, it should be remembered, from Community funds, not council ones?

We therefore draw to the attention of the Council and Councillors, the representatives of the community, the community desire to retain the present Batemans Bay Community Centre along with the proposed Mackay Park Aquatic Centre and Theatre Arts complex and strongly assert our community voice to our representatives, to comply with this request.

We have $51 million. The Otium business case is well out of date and, as yet, the business case the grant applications were based on, has not been released. A business that sells off its assets to pay running costs of essential services is not a viable concern.

It is well worth remembering the infamous quotation and its ramifications: upon hearing that the peasants had no bread: it was said: “Then let them eat cake”*.

MPark Arts centre was supposed to be designed to become a thriving arts centre. Now it appears it may be an ivory tower, and silent.

Council has told us that the money come for the facility will come from Council’s existing budgets, i.e. from the budget of the $51 million, but now we are being told that does not include the ongoing maintenance and operational costs.

BAS or the Moruya community were not required to give up a community asset. Nor should it be required of Mackay Park facility and the Batemans Bay community

**“At the 2016 census, Batemans Bay had a population of 11,294, with surrounding communities including Long Beach, Maloneys Beach and the coastal fringe extending south to Rosedale bringing the total population of the urban area to 16,044”

*Let them eat cake. "Let them eat cake" is the traditional translation of the French phrase " Qu'ils mangent de la brioche ", supposedly spoken by "a great princess" upon learning that the peasants had no bread. Since brioche was a luxury bread enriched with butter and eggs, the quotation would reflect the princess's disregard for the peasants..’

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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