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Finally Council Consultants say get rid of the Boatshed for a new public foreshore

The Beagle Editor,

It is refreshing to see that finally someone has had the balls to say the Boatshed has to go or at least be modified to get rid of the dominance it has over our Clyde foreshore.

Above: consultants have seen the Boatshed as a blip on the foreshore that should be removed.

For Council to invite public feedback about the foreshore and have staff say that the Boatshed is staying because it is considered by a select few as 'historical' speaks volumes of how much engagement the Council wants and the control they have over the narrative. "Guess what Council.... it ain't historical" said Peter Coggin of Our Town Our Say as he and others from the OTOS engaged with consultants, the community and Council staff at the Bay Foreshore event today. In 2009 the future of a well known tourist spot was still in doubt, with the waterfront land that takes in Boatshed up for lease.

The Lands Department called for expressions of interest to take over and redevelop the site on the Batemans Bay Foreshore where the boatshed stands.

This was as a result of stage three of Eurobodalla Shire Council's plans to redevelop Batemans Bay's southern foreshore area. Ideas came in to remove the boatshed and to construct an Information booth that would be more relevant to visitors rather than the Information Centre which few could find. The primary task was to remove the Boatshed that for most in the community was now capitalising on a vestige of a Crown Land Grant that no longer had relevance and offered the lessees unfair competitive advantage to nearby comparative food outlets.

Above: the Information centre that would have combined Information and toilets in a single building availing the foreshore back to the public as is the current intention. Yet 10 years after the above intentions nothing has changed.

The department, in 2009, was looking for the site redevelopment to include a restaurant with a seafood focus; replacement and incorporation of the existing public toilets into the building; and inclusion of a wharf and jetty to accommodate outdoor seating and eating areas. Council staff have advised that the boatshed has major historical significance and has to stay. oh really??

OEH says otherwise: The Boatshed and jetty have importance as members of a small group of the last structures that provide a visual link to the history of the Clyde River waterfront at Bateman's Bay. They are important as the setting for a socially pleasing interaction between the fishing and tourist industries. They have landmark qualities that are important to the character of the townscape, and a reputation that extends beyond the local area. Level of Significance: It is considered that the Boatshed building and the jetties, as structures, have moderate significance, that is, they are elements which have little heritage value, but which contributes to the overall significance of the Place. A less tangible element of the Place, that has some importance, is the contact between the waterfront, user/customer, and the fishing/food-oriented activity in the Place. This value, is considered to be of high significance, and the structures provide the setting for this value to be clearly demonstrated. The Boatshed and jetties are considered to be of local significance The building exhibits a range of improvised development to address changing needs, of both the users and the public. The changes are built in an unsophisticated manner, and are essentially cheap and functional in character. The building obscures views to the water, but this is an accident of history rather than deliberate design. The Boatshed is considered to have low architectural and aesthetic merit. Its silhouette and some of the internal structure is all that remains of the original building. It is possible that the boatshed, prior to alterations, was a weatherboard- lined structure, which if it had survived in its original appearance, would have a more obvious visual link to traditional coastal architecture in the area. The boatshed does not enhance the waterfront in an aesthetic sense. It blocks the view to the water from a number of viewpoints (as does the toilet block). There are several 'layers' of alterations which obscure the original structure, and the result is a series of responses to needs that have arisen during the history of the building. So irrespective of the current opinion of Council staff the building has 'historical signficance' it appears otherwise and could easily be replaced with an information plaque. To be told this weekend by Council staff and the advisors to the Batemans Bay Foreshore Committee that any discussion of the future of the Boatshed is "off the table" makes a mockery of Council's desire to engage with the community for ideas for the foreshore. It really is time to bring discussion of the Boatshed, in context with the proposed revitalisation of the Batemans Bay foreshore back on to the table and to ensure that the current councillor on the Foreshore Committee, step aside from having any input unless she very clearly states that she has a conflict of interest regarding the Boatshed. If Council wishes to engage the community it MUST be open and transparent.

Above: Time to open the foreshore back up to the community and restore a level playing field to rentals instead of tax payer subsidised freebee rentals via a Crown lease. Name and address supplied

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