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Editorial August 21st 2020

Welcome to this week’s editorial, Many this week are coming to the realisation that the $70 million Mackay Park pool and hall complex has now been given the green light. With that announcement comes the realisation that Council needed to find an extra $15 million above the $51 million dollars they had been given by the government. $15 million is a lot but Council say they have it covered by selling real estate (Batemans Bay Information Centre and Community Centre) plus dipping into savings and their infrastructure fund that is meant for other stuff like roads and bridges. The community is also coming to the realisation that from September 7th they will be losing the much loved Batemans Bay Mini Golf and their 50m swimming pool. Work will start in September 2020 after Eurobodalla Council awarded a construction contract to ADCO Constructions. The project is expected to be complete early in 2022. The primary thing the community have NOT realised yet is that once the new centre opens it will cost in excess of $3 million per year to run. Council is already seeking tenders for the management of the aquatic centre having adopted a Fee for Service model to manage the operations of the new centre. It will be interesting to see how Council manages the theatre that has no-one in charge of finding acts, ticketing, lighting, sound, cleaning, promoting. With the arts across the country at a standstill and in financial peril Council will need a miracle to have bums on seats to touring shows that simply do not exist. Imagine if you heard Council was to build a stand alone gymnasium in the shire. Using ratepayer funds building a 1000m2 gym on Council land and then venturing off to Melbourne to look at gym equipment and furnishings on the ratepayers purse. Such a move by Council to go into opposition with local privately owned gyms already doing it tough would be seen as outrageous. But the community are beginning to realise that this is exactly what their Council is doing. Building a gym in a town with six gyms and offering their gym to the highest bidder, using the pool as their attractor. Council has already said it is prepared to run its own Learn to Swim, they are keen to staff the theatre administration and now it is understood that they are even looking at gym layouts on staff excursions to Victoria. All on the ratepayer dollar. And have they told anyone of the financial details “moving forward”? No. That remains Commercial In Confidence. Unfortunately the community will not learn of the true financial burden of this Gift Horse until after the first year of operation. But only if we dig for the truth. Until next—lei

In February 2002, Donald Rumsfeld, the then US Secretary of State for Defence, stated at a Defence Department briefing: ‘There are known knowns. There are things we know that we know. There are known unknowns. That is to say, there are things that we now know we don't know. But there are also unknown unknowns. There are things we do not know we don't know.’ The response is not unlike that of Eurobodalla Councillors when asked questions around council matters.

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