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Council choose to 'party on' with Mackay Park pool project

The Beagle Editor and the residents and ratepayers of Eurobodalla

Timely reminder – MacKay Park Proposed Development

Residents and any other interested people are reminded that the deadline for submissions to council on their Development Application for the Regional Arts, Aquatic and Leisure Centre in Batemans Bay is Wednesday, 6 November 2019.

The current DA relates to a complex being built for an estimated $49.5 million, not on the old bowling club site but where the Olympic pool and mini-golf are now - both these iconic features will be bulldozed and not replaced.

The proposed development with a life expectancy of some 50 years has no room for expansion and will satisfy only a few of the shire’s current needs let alone those extra demands that will surely emerge as the population grows over the decades ahead. Its main pool, performance, community rooms and exhibition spaces are all too small for today’s users and will not be able to attract sufficient volumes of paying patrons to offset the ownership and running expenses. This would leave the only probable prospect of increased rates for the whole shire’s ratepayers in order to pay for this folly.

Also of concern is that the old bowling club site, which currently is being used temporarily by the RMS as part of the new bridge works, will be in limbo without a plan for its future other than further attempts to sell it to private investors. Even if an investor could be found - it’s a very problematic area - there is no assurance that whatever might end up on the site will fit the “Gateway Development” promised to the shire back in April 2016 when the old bowling club was purchased.

This has been a most controversial project over these past three and a half years: council has refused to incorporate the community’s wishes for the development’s inclusions, claiming unaffordability, yet has not disclosed details of any business case used to obtain grant funding – such a report would help the community see how their money would be spent and whether it would be considered worthwhile let alone affordable.

It is indeed a strange situation where after all this time and considerable expenditure on consultants and despite being a $100+ million “business”, council still doesn’t know what they are likely to impose on the shire’s ratepayers as evidenced by the deputy mayor recently saying “Until we go through this DA, and get a contract price quote, nobody will know exactly what we’re doing.” Getting the contract price referred to will involve tendering companies to commit lots of time, effort and expense without council having any idea what it will then decide to do.

If you wish to make a submission on this DA, either way, the deadline is Wednesday, 6 November. Please let council know what you think of the DA and what you want done. Council’s email is council@esc.nsw.gov.au and the DA is number 0189/20, Regional Arts, Aquatic and Leisure Centre.,

Jeff de Jager, Coila

“Until we go through this DA, and get a contract price quote, nobody will know exactly what we’re doing.”

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