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Editorial October 2nd 2020

Welcome to this week’s editorial, The community as one came out today and told the Council in no uncertain terms to “Get Their Hands Off It” in reference to the Council’s determination to seek Expressions of Interest for outside bodies to lease the community owned (and well used) Batemans Bay Community Centre. The Council have already been reminded on several occasions that the Community Centre was built for the community, with community funds, and that Council simply isn’t able to tell current users to vacate the premises and find alterative venues so that Council can lease it. The intention of Council to dishonour their commitment to the community, to put in abeyance any action on the Community Centre until AFTER the Mackay Park Centre was opened (expected in 2022), came as a shock to the many groups and their membership. They all made the same comment today of “we have not been consulted”. To that Council has replied that as the centre is Operational they are not required to consult. The Beagle learnt that Council had failed to advise the many groups of their intentions to engage with several unsolicited approaches interested in leasing the centre. The 150 who attended today said that they were just the tip of the iceberg representing those who use the community centre and they all recognised that many from their groups were not able to attend. Not in attendance also were Batemans Bay councillors Innes, Tait and Nathan along with Brown and Thomson who had not provided any apology to the organisers. All Councillors had been invited to hear firsthand the concerns of the community. Making apologies were Constable and Pollock. Attending were McGinlay and Mayne. There was much learnt today from the public meeting. The first thing was that the community are getting jack of Council’s continued disregard and disrespect of its ratepayers, they are fed up with Council’s continued secrecy behind closed doors, and of councillors (the majority) failing to engage and represent residents and ratepayers. But most of all they are dismayed of a system that has seen the councillors delegate so much of their authority to Council staff that they, the councillors, are basically neutered and serve little purpose but to rubber stamp whatever the staff put before them. Today saw a turning point where they said “Enough is Enough”—today the community proved they have a voice and it was heard. Until next—lei

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