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Council response to Bay Chamber concerns around Mackay Park


In a recent interview with Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber President David MacLachlan on 2EC and following his presentation to Councillors that the the Batemans Bay community deserves an iconic arts facility Eurobodalla Council have responded in an opinion piece published in the Bay Post June 7th, 2019 The Bay Post has published (June 7th, 2019) as a comment an edited extract of Eurobodalla Council's response to Batemans Bay Business and Tourism Chamber president David MacLachlan regarding a petition to keep the community centre that offers: "Council is well aware of Mr MacLachlan's view about the size of the theatre and the type of events the theatre can and should support. The initial business case for the Batemans Bay Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre at Mackay Park did recommend 500 seats. "However, following consultation with theatre specialist Richard Stuart, it was recommended that a theatre of 350 seats was most appropriate for Eurobodalla now and into the future. "Our research also included discussions with those responsible for similar facilities throughout NSW, ACT, Victoria, our neighbours in Shoalhaven, along with a range of touring theatre and performance companies. "Our theatre is proposed to have tiered seating for 350 and quality lighting, sound and fittings - the things theatre companies told us were important. They also told us they would prefer to stage a second show than perform in a half empty 1,000-seat facility. The new theatre will rightly serve a different function to other venues in Batemans Bay. "The new facility will never be a "glorified community centre". We have always aimed to accommodate the needs of the current Community Centre users in the new facility, knowing we might potentially sell or lease the community centre and visitor centre as an income stream for the new centre. Council knows those community centre users and their financial capacity. "Claims that Council will charge exorbitant fees for access to the facility are untrue. We want a vibrant space where everyone is welcome. "Finally, your assertion that architects have been designing the centre without a business case is incorrect. The business case was endorsed by Council well before NBRS Architecture was engaged. The discussion you refer to was about a concept of operations that outlines how spaces might be programmed, not the business case, which has been available on Council's website since 2017. (see the 2017 Otium Business Case HERE) "Council will continue to consider business and management matters as part of the design process, as per Council's resolved position."


Above: with decades of industry experience of managing profitable events Mr MacLachlan holds doubts that the financial model Council rests on to justify its decision of 350 seats holds water.


Above: Even at a projected 500 seats Otium's Business Case clearly shows a projected loss of $312,000 and climbing over a decade based on an assumption of • 12 productions • 55% of capacity sold for each performance at an average ticket price of $35 full and $22 concession of the total sold 30% full price and 25% concession noting that the ticket prices are used as an indicator only as some performances would be less i.e. children’s shows or morning music and others more expensive ie opera, large scale productions They also project 38,700 visitors per year to the theatre in their model - which means for the 12 performances projected that estimate 3,225 visits to each. Note that there are are two sets of hiring rates in the Business Case: Community @$700 per day and Standard/Commercial @$800 - fortunately anyone who presently uses the Batemans Bay Community Centre Hall that is hired out at $49.00 per hour will be able to look forward to a discount at the new Mackay Park centre that offers "For meetings and seminars only requiring one staff member the charge would be for 4 hours minimum at $160"

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