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Editorial August 28th 2020

Welcome to this week’s editorial, Having only been on the South Coast for thirty five years I am a new comer in the eyes of many of the old timers. But as a new comer I have very clear memories of what it is like to arrive on the coast as an outsider for a South Coast holiday. My entry to the South Coast was via the Kings Highway and I loved the descent off the tableland via the ever winding Clyde Mountain road to eventually arrive at the Clyde River Bridge. This was the moment you wound down your windows and inhaled the salty air to rattle across the bridge, catching glimpses of yachts, the shops along the foreshore and the wide reach of the Clyde river mouth with the Tollgates in the distance. In days of old, if you didn’t take the offramp to the foreshore, the gateway to Batemans Bay was a two lane road that took you by low rise old houses and a primary school on your left with an old Bowling Club and the town’s outdoor pool, a minigolf and footy field. Back then the town of Batemans Bay shared the same characteristics as most undeveloped coastal towns. It was casual and even had a sign that genuinely said “Welcome”. But those days are gone. Now visitors will arrive at a massive roundabout to direct them over a four lane bridge that will offer no glimpses and than deposit, without welcome, visitors to a four lane thunder dome of a bypass with the ugly rear of commercial premises along much of its eastern side. The visitor will recognise KFC and, in the distance, McDonalds as they are swept along at 60 KPH. Instead of the once warm welcoming gateway to a coastal holiday destination that was marked by bowlers in pressed whites and a smiling Skull of Mini Golf that welcomed young and old alike the new gateway proposed will most likely be a multi story apartment block with retail and a bus interchange at ground level. Beyond this building will be the new $70 million pool and hall sitting at the busiest intersection in the Shire. This week sees the final week of trading for the iconic Batemans Bay Mini Golf that has provided generations of family holiday fun. In days of old you knew you were on holiday when you saw the Mini Golf. You knew that you had arrived. For so many it was the Mini Golf that was our cultural gateway that said “Welcome”. It will be sadly missed and, for many, arriving in Batemans Bay on holidays just won’t be the same. Until next Lei

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