Community says NO to 30m tower block: suggests town park instead

The Eurobodalla community became aware this weekend (May 30th, 2021) that Council staff had begun seeking expressions of interest to establish a Public/Private partnership with any developer interested in building a potential 30 metre high accommodation tower to service tourism and permanent occupation. Council in their EIO documents say they have identified, through community engagement, the following as the preferred development outcomes for the Site:

· Conference and events facilities.

· Restaurants and cafes.

· Tourist and visitor accommodation.

· Residential accommodation. The 30m tower identified as "potential" will then look over the CBD buildings to the east which in turn are to be allowed to increase to 18m high in order to look over the 12.5m high buildings that will be allowed along the Clyde Street and Orient Street foreshore.

Above: The community is learning that Council is considering allowing the development of a 30m tower on the old Batemans Bay Bowling Club site. With an immediate backlash the Council might need to reconsider their plans and recognise that the community did not, at any time, indicate it would welcome a 30m high tower. Preliminary discussions with the community around the purchase of the Bowling Club site in 2016 focused on the long term vision of then-CEO Jim Levy who suggested the site, if purchased, might deliver a bus terminal, some shops, a conference/exhibition space, a heated pool, some office space, community meeting rooms and to make it attractive to an investor 'some' tourism accommodation. But that was long before the decision was made to demolish the 50m pool and build the Bay Pavillions south of the old Bowling Club site. Now, with no community purpose Council are looking to go into partnership with a developer suggesting there is a demand for Conference and events facilities, Restaurants and cafes, Tourist and visitor accommodation and Residential accommodation. One suggestion from the community is to have the site, purchased for the community at $2.7 million dollars, transformed into a welcoming park at the gateway to Batemans Bay, providing cafes, BBQs, public toilets, much needed long stay and long vehicle parking, walking trails celebrating the region's cultural heritage and a cycleway/pedestrian link to the Clyde Street foreshore exploring the wonderful mangroves of McLeods Creek.

The land, soon after it was purchased, was briskly categorised as Operational so that Council could decide to sell it without any community consultation. News this week of Council staff placing an advertisement in the Financial Review for the potential construct of a tower block on the site came as a surprise. Council are in the red on the purchase of the site at $2.7 million. At the time in was considered they had paid $1.2 million too much with the vote to purchase made in secret requiring the casting vote of then-mayor Lindsay Brown. While it might be considered a debt the question has to be "How much would you pay to buy a prime parcel of land to ensure it stays in the ownership of the Batemans Bay communiy, especially given that the Bowling Club site was gifted to the Batemans Bay Community by Mr Mackay

Above: If the Batemans Bay Bowling Club was still standing today it would be on land gifted 102 years ago to the Batemans Bay community as reported in the Moruya Examiner March 1st, 1919. Mackay Park Land gifted to the community 100 years ago : History reveals