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The more we learn, the less we know about the Mackay Park project





In August 2020, after two weeks of accepting a tender to construct the Mackay Park Pool the Council still had not told the public who the winning contractor was and how much the winning tender was. While the wider community became unofficially aware that the winning contractor is ADCO the Eurobodalla Council continued with their veil of secrecy failing once again to advise their community of key details around the $70 million project. It took more than two weeks to learn the winning tenderers name after Eurobodalla Councillors voted to accept the tender to construct the Mackay Park facility from an undisclosed company for an undisclosed amount that will be paid for, in part, with an undisclosed contribution from undisclosed funds and via the sale of undisclosed community assets bolstered from the sale of the Moruya Racecourse for an undisclosed amount. There still remains the question of how the community will pay for the $15 million GAP and how they will provide for the estimated $3 million per year to cover running costs and revenue shortfalls. Just before the vote in August 2020 Eurobodalla Councillor Anthony Mayne posted his concerns around the funding and the overt confidentiality to his social media page asking: "How much will it cost in total? How will Council/Community pay for it? What assets will we sell to cover the shortfall?What is the opportunity cost (e.g. what will you go without now and into the future to pay for this project)? What is the ongoing operational costs? Can we see the business case? Will Council still sell the Batemans Bay Community Centre? And the answer to each of the above = Commercial-in-Confidence. He wrote "I voted against the sale of our community owned #Moruya horse racing track mainly because we could not tell you the sale $ price. I had the privilege of working with the community to keep its Centre in the Bay, to try and stop the sale of green spaces (Durra, Broulee etc), to preserve parks (e.g. Pretty Point). So if Council is to sell off such assets across the Shire to pay for the facility in the Bay, then our community needs to know these details. Batemans Bay is a major population hub. The $51m in grant funding is terrific. "Yet the entire Shire will fund any shortfall in the build cost through the sale of its assets. Any shortfall in the operation costs will be paid for by your rates. "How can Council represent you and your views and wishes if you do not know the price and how any shortfall will be made up? "So what is the entire Shire prepared to forgo now and into the future to ensure that the Mackay Centre can proceed in the Bay? "We are a resilient community. The bushfires led into covid and now we find ourselves in a recession. So as a community that has gone through so much together, I hope we can have a transparent and engaging debate on Tuesday so that we can best represent your desires for our future together. "I will ask each of the questions listed above on Tuesday to that we can hopefully have as transparent a debate as possible on what is a major project for our community. Duty First. Anthony Following the public revelation on The Beagle that ADCO had been awarded the construction contract Council staff retrieved councillors laptops, tablets and phones so that they could trawl through records to determine if any Councillors had breached confidentiality by leaking the winning tenderers name. An independent investigator was called in and councillors were formally interviewed to determine if they "leaked" to the media. In the end they were exonerated, but not after Council paid around $10,000 for the investigation that could have been solved with a 25c call to The Beagle editor.

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