It is now being revealed in the public arena that Council is steadily renting out space in the Batemans Bay Community Centre to local businesses in need of additional long term conference and training space at the cost of telling long term community groups who have held permanent bookings to look elsewhere. Council have also been forced to reveal that the alternate spaces that they are now offering to groups are underutilised as if that justifies their determination to force local community groups to vacate the very well utilised Community Centre and to move to these less financially sustainable venues such as the Hanging Rock Community Centre, Batemans Bay Library and Malua Bay Community Centre. Council have now advised that it was due to unsolicited approaches they have received to either lease or even sell the Batemans Bay Community Centre that has caused them to now openly seek expressions of interest to ease the community building. The future of the building and its availability to the community has been placed in further peril with comments coming from the General Manager suggesting that only leasing is being considered "at this point in time". The status of the leasing is in limbo at the moment until a report is brought back to Council that will advise Councillors of the staff's recommendations. It is clear already that the staff wish to maximise the income they can derive from leasing out the community owned Community Centre. Their initial justification in what is now a political timebomb was that the new Mackay Park centre would accommodate the community needs presently catered for in the Community Centre. Instead the community have been "screwed and deceived" by the continued whittling down of what will be on offer to the point where it appears there will be minimal space at unaffordable rates in exchange for selling a bespoke centre that serves the community well. Prior to the recent disclosure of "at this point in time" the General Manager has previously advised in writing that she "cannot give you any long term assurance on the future of the Batemans Bay Community Centre (BBCC), other than that which I have previously provided – namely that Council has not made any long term decisions," adding "The BBCC will need to remain open to the community until the new Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre (AALC) is constructed and operational. Maintaining the existing facility would duplicate functions and add operational costs while removing potential sale or lease options, including the revenue arising from such. This would have the effect of inadvertently increasing the operational cost of the AALC and deprive that centre of a potential source of income, therefore compromising its affordability, including the theatre." Basically if the Community Centre remained and the community didn't hire the meeting room in the Mackay Park centre it would "deprive that centre of a potential source of income, therefore compromising its affordability" Oh really ....... ???
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