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Editorial October 11th 2019

Welcome to this week’s editorial,

Just over 10 months from the next Local Council election and things are become a little unravelled for our councillors as they come under close scrutiny for the little that they have personally achieved in the past three years as measured by their campaign promises.

The unofficial announcement today of the Eurobodalla Rural Lands Strategy has been finally signed off after years of waiting might be seen by the Mayor as a feather in her cap however the recognition should sit firmly on the shoulders of the countless Eurobodalla Planning staff who have worked through the maze of protocols and red tape for eight years or more.

The same can be said of today’s announcement of $25.6m of NSW State funding for the Tuross River dam as a considerable contribution to the estimated $100m project. While the current councillors migh tlike to take credit for such an announcement once again the accolades should go to the local Member for Bega who has secured the contribution.

The same accolades should also befall the local member for the Batemans Bay Bridge project, the Spine Road intersection, securing the funding for the proposed Eurobodalla Regional Hospital and all of the sundry works that have injected nearly $500m into our local economy which includes the proposed Mackay Park Centre.

This week sees Council lodging a Development Application for the project identifying it as a $49.5m project. The DA required additional documents to be lodged including a geo-technical report, that, until now, was considered confidential.

At every turn of this project Council have gone out of their way to make things ‘confidential’. They established a confidential Sunset Committee that kept confidential minutes and held confidential meetings to discuss confidential things. They consulted confidentially with selected local groups to form a very confidential Aquatic Strategy that determined the demise of the Batemans Bay 50m pool. Council then lodged two grant applications that they fought tooth and nail to keep confidential under a freedom of information request that would reveal the Business Case they provided.

With the new plans now lodged the updated business case remains Strictly Confidential. Unfortunately for Council there is enough information available to reveal that should they proceed with the Mackay Park Centre as it is they will need to find $2m to $3m per year from ratepayers to cover loses. Ten months out and the current councillors have little to show for their time other than their $1m payments for being rubber stamps to staff recommendations. Having delegated all of their responsibilities to staff one wonders what reason the councillors have in standing unless it is for $$ . Until next—Lei