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Community disgusted with Council staff insistence to boot them out of their own Centre

A crowd of about 60 residents gathered this morning at the Batemans Bay Community Centre in solidarity to tell Council yet again to “Get Your Hands Off It”. Meals on Wheels sent their apologies having a prior to volunteer training day for its hundreds of members.

Clr Anthony Mayne spoke to the crowd about the importance of the community centre urging them to let councillors know their feelings by contacting them personally and/or speaking to the meeting next Tuesday during public forum session. Clr Mayne acknowledged the hard work of many community organisations in their fight to keep the community centre in community hands.

U3A representative Henk Roubos also addressed the crowd with a strong message from PerfEx President Dr Sue Mackenzie asking " Why weren’t the unsolicited user groups directed elsewhere to those council facilities current ‘underutilised’? Hanging Rock facility is hardly an appropriate alternate with its one person lift." The reference to under utilisation came from one councillor who advised a member of the public, asking why they had to be moved on to other Council venue, saying "I understand your concerns but am also very aware of the under-utilised spaces where most of the activities can be re-housed." While the councillor added "Mine will be a widely informed decision" it was this same councillor who only last week discovered that she was not fully informed by staff prior to a critical vote on one of their recommendations.

Our Council Our Say spokesperson, Coral Anderson, advised that the Department of Education had recently taken a lease over the old Target building. However, as they will be occupying only 600sm of the 1,000sm available, she suggested that the surplus to needs space could be taken up by council’s preferred tenderer rather than pushing out the current 100+ user groups, noting that the community centre’s total square meterage was less than the 400sm available in the old Target building.

Coral said "To the dismay, of those wishing to use the community toilets the community centre was not ‘open for business’ with the entire building locked to public access. Not even the toilets were available for public use with a sign directing those in need of a comfort stop could trot over to the Visitors Information Centre. The whole place was deserted, no one to be seen. It was as if the building had been abandoned."

Clr Mayne stayed behind to answer many questions and thanked those involved for taking the time out on such a hot day with no seating provided outside of the building.

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