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Leasing of BBay community Centre "off the table" for now says an unapologetic Council

At the July 14th, 2020 Council meeting, when Matters of Urgency were sought, Councillor Anthony Mayne said that he had received, just that morning, four emails from community members seeking clarity about the Batemans Bay Community Centre saying the question of the theme was the level of concern around Council's attempt to lease the property was high. This week saw the General Manager and her Council staff revealed as willingly choosing to ignore a unanimous councillor motion to defer all action in regards to the Batemans Bay Community Centre until the Mackay Park project was past the tender process. The revelation has once again brought to the surface the divide that exists between Council and the community and the continued distrust that the community has for the council around their continued determination to sell the community facility to provide funds for their Mackay Park pool and art space project that has now blown out to a suggested $65 million dollars and rising. While Councillor Mayne may well have fumbled his way through his request for an Urgent Matter the process was hampered by the Zoom session dropping in an out and the General Manager offering interjecting, yet incomprehensible advice to the Chair, Rob Pollock on the matter. Councillor Mayne called on the General Manager to offer clarity around the leasing and the Community Centre future given "the current situation", adding "is that appropriate to ask that now?" Immediately, being schooled by the General Manager at his side, Chair Pollock responded "No, it's not on this agenda but it has been made clear to all councillors the whole issue of the Batemans Bay Community Centre and the potential leasing of that has now been taken off the table but there will be a FULL report to the next council meeting so you can reach those people who have been in touch with you that they no longer need to have that level of concern" Clr Mayne, rather than reflecting the distaste and disgust of the community who had clearly indicated to him via emails and open letters to the editor that the Council had reneged on its obligations to respect a Council resolution thereby disrespecting and dishonouring their community in the process, chose instead to say "Thanks Deputy Mayor". At this point we hear the General Manager once again talking at speed beside Clr Pollock offering him advice but then..... NOTHING ... and the council meeting via ZOOM came to a frozen halt - never to return. What was said after, what was offered by the unusually instructive General Manager, what was then challenged by Clr Anthony Mayne and whether he raised a point of order with the Chair advising that his Urgent Matter was NOT on "this agenda" because "Urgent Matters" are not described on agendas simply because they arise due to .... being URGENT. While Councillor Pollock might have offered the community "a level of assurance" and it might be considered a positive outcome the matter of Council's obvious intent on leasing the building and their contempt of a standing Council instruction leaves the issue well and truely on the table. At no time have we heard any apology given for the General Manager's flagrant attempt to disregard Council's commitment to its community and defer any action on the Batemans Bay Community Centre until tenders for the Mackay Pork project have been processed and actioned. It is clear that there is still a long way ahead for the community to gain certainty around its Community Centre and an even longer road ahead for Council to regain any respect and trust the community had for its ability or intent to "keep its word".

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