At the Tuesday 27th 2019 Council meeting Coral Anderson will be presenting at Public Forum on the issue of the Concept D plan being released that shows the pool reduced to just eight lanes from the promised 10 and that the plan has no business case attached. Ms Anderson's address tomorrow follows and is provided because Council have turned off Live Streaming, recording and archiving of Public presentations so the only way the community can hear what their fellow community members are saying is to attend in person at 9:30am before the Council meeting. Coral Anderson writes:
Firstly, some history as a reminder, for councillors and members of the Gallery:
In August 2017, Council endorsed a concept plan for the Mackay Park Redevelopment, apparently under some time pressure, in order to secure grant funding. Following this, a group of like-minded community members came together to lobby for the retention of a 50m pool in this redevelopment, as it had not been provided for. Our group was called Fight for Batemans Bay’s 50m Pool, with over 500 followers on Facebook.
We then expanded and formed a sister group called Our Towns Our Say – OTOS - holding a number of public meetings on various community issues where Council was involved. We opened a Facebook page that also has approximately 500 followers, including several Councillors.
In November 2017, Our Towns Our Say delivered a Brief of Evidence to both Minister Constance and Mayor Innes. This brief contained numerous letters from various organisations. Each letter supported retaining a 50m pool in the proposed redevelopment. These supporters include St Bernards Catholic Primary School, St Peter’s Anglican College in Broulee, Swimming NSW, Batemans Bay Swimming Club, Eurobodalla Primary Schools Sporting Association (with 11 member schools), Mogo Public School, the Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, the CWA, Elite Energy and several more. Not one of these organisations has withdrawn their letter of support for the 50m pool.
Since then, it appears that you have neither done your homework nor delivered on promises that you made:
Where are the separate annual recurrent running costs of each of the 6 water bodies, as requested on several occasions?
Is the General Manager in possession of a revised business case? If so, does Council propose to release this document to the public? If not, when does the General Manager propose to have one prepared, to cover the expenditure of $51m of public monies?
In February this year, Council invited members of the community to take part in surveys in relation to the redevelopment. An overwhelming majority of responses supported the retention of a 50m Olympic sized pool. They have been ignored.
The Mayor, her General Manager and Director Lindsay Usher have all promised in public, that Plan D would show the site position of where an Olympic pool could be located in the future. Where is it exactly, on Plan D and why has this promise not been honoured?
The original concept plan endorsed by Council in August 2017 showed a Gymnasium with a total floor area of approximately 800 square metres. That plan also showed the mini golf being moved to the southern end of the development.
The plan before you today appears to show an upgrade from a gymnasium to a fitness centre with an approximate total floor area of over 1,000 square metres - an increase of some 220 square metres. Plan D also provides for a ‘spin room’ something that was not included in the original concept plan .
Does Council propose to go into direct competition with the other 5 or 6 privately owned fitness centres already in Batemans Bay, one of which is operated by one of the Mayor’s family members? If so, why?
Has the Mayor considered the potential conflicts of interest that could arise?
If Council does not propose to compete on an equal commercial footing, does it propose to undercut that market segment and subsidise the Mackay Park gym? The effect will be the same, except that ratepayers with absolutely no interest in gymnasiums or fitness centres will underwrite the cost.
This does not appear to fit well with Rates, Roads and Rubbish – these are surely the prime Council priorities!
The mini golf is not shown as part of the development. How much does Council anticipate it will have to spend to relocate this iconic tourist attraction to another part of the Shire?
A better way forward is to take out the proposed and expanded fitness centre, which few residents see as a priority, freeing up ample space for an outdoor Olympic sized 50m pool with spectator seating.
This will save the overall building costs substantially and pave the way for Batemans Bay to host not only school and regional swimming carnivals but also National and maybe even international swimming competitions, adding to the tourism dollar.
Local pool user Mr Marc Chaplin says and I quote:
“The current "planning" for this project seems to be to muddle along and do whatever is required to build something. The only fixed part of the plan seems to be to avoid rebuilding a 50 metre pool, despite overwhelming public support. If we continue on the current trajectory of down sizing and down grading, we will end up with a model of what could have been a grand design. Why not skip to the end game and just buy a dolls house. It could be a permanent reminder of what happens when council doesn't listen to the rate payers.
A good community facility should build on, rather than alienate its current support base.”
Members of OTOS, supported by many members of this community, dismayed by what has been brought before you today, urge you to not support parts 1, 2 and 4 of the recommendation contained in Mr Usher’s report until such time as council receives a further and formal report on operational management model options and project budget.
Councillors, can you honestly say, hand on heart, that you are staying true to your Oath of Office to act in the best interests of the people in this case?
The community is encouraged to attend the Public Forum session to hear the questions asked by councillors of the speakers and the responses given that are not recorded. In order to present at Public Forum you are required to prepare your presentation (max seven minutes) and provide it to Council by 12 noon today (Monday Aug 26th) with your registration to speak (phone 44741000)