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Will Council vote to reclassify the Batemans Bay Community Centre to block any future sale

There will be considerable interest shown in how Councillors vote next Tuesday when a motion to safeguard the commercial leasing and even sale of the community owned Batemans Bay Community Centre comes before council. There has already been a well attended (150 plus) community protest, a 1000 signature petition and countless letters and submissions around Council staff intentions to go ahead with leasing to outside agencies at market rates. Now the focus will be on the typical Innes voting block of Innes, Pollock, Brown, Thomson, Tait and Nathan to see if they will counter the typical "opposition" votes of McGinlay, Mayne and Constable who have all been proactive in engaging with the community to listen to their concerns. Councillor Anthony Mayne has given notice that at the Ordinary Meeting of Council on Tuesday 24 November 2020, he will move the following motion. MOTION THAT: 1. the land on which the Batemans Bay Community Centre, currently zoned B4-Mixed use and classified as operation, be reclassified to Community. 2. a planning proposal be prepared to amend Schedule 4, Part 3 of the Eurobodalla Local Environment Plan 2012 to reclassify the Batemans Bay Community Centre from operational to community and that the planning proposal be submitted to Council for consideration. Councillor Mayne says of his motion, that he hopes will be supported by his fellow councillors "Such a reclassification would provide continuity and surety to the Centre’s current users, while alleviating any community concern about a possible future sales of its facility." Council already hold a 1000 signature petition that clearly requests that Council desist from their intention to lease, and then possibly sell the centre, as a way of shoring up community demand for the less than comparative meeting rooms they will offer in the ne Mackay Park complex. In order to facilitate the move and to transition to leasing Council have already advised community groups to find alternate venues whilst also seeking Expressions of Interest from outside agencies looking to secure affordable office space. Councillor Mayne advises in his motion "At present there are a number of organisations that currently hire the community centre. Fifteen (15) community groups hire a room at the BBCC on a weekly basis. These groups are Meals on Wheels, a Tai Chi provider, U3A, Shugyo Martial Arts, South Coast Stompers, Goshin Ryu Karate, a Speech Pathology provider, South Coast Colleges, AA Wednesday Group, The Legacies Group (AA), Mystery Bay School of Music, ESC Embracing Babies Program, Batemans Bay Line Dancers and a Dance class provider. Other community groups are expected to recommence their monthly booking sometime in the post-Covid future. These groups are Tollgates Probus, Dementia Australia, and CAE Book discussion group. There are other organisations that book on an adhoc basis. "Last year Council received a petition presented by Dr Sue McKenzie, on behalf of Perfex, raising concerns about the future use of the Centre. A recent public meeting at the Community Centre equally raised concerns about the current proposal from Council to seek out EOI to lease out the Centre. The land is currently zoned B4-Mixed use and is classified as operational land having been reclassified by Council from community land in 2012 after a comprehensive process involving extensive consultation and a public hearing. "Any change in land use zone or classification would require a planning proposal to amend the Eurobodalla LEP. For this to occur Council would need to resolve that a planning proposal be prepared setting out the changes desired by Council. And that in the meantime, Council advise parties that have made unsolicited requests, who wish to lease the property, that this option is not available. "The Batemans Bay Community Centre was paid for by community funds and is highly valued by the community. Over 120 groups used the Centre last year. "The facility provides a centrally located combination of amenities grouped in a way nowhere else in the town, with a goodsized kitchen, · freezer space, · sprung floor · level and ready access, · affordability, · easy parking · close proximity to services and the CBD · and, importantly clean and safe and accessible public toilets. "The Batemans Bay Community Centre is clearly valued, utilised and appreciated by our community. We have an opportunity with this motion to ensure community usability now and into the future." To counter Clr Mayne's motion the staff have put forward their own report saying "Council has received a number of unsolicited enquiries from parties interested in leasing the Batemans Bay Community Centre (BBCC)" Recommending: "Council approve entering into a lease with the preferred candidate. "Council has received a number of submissions from members of the community about the potential leasing of the community centre and this report includes responses addressing the matters raised. "Two EOIs were received and have been assessed against the selection criteria. Both are considered to be suitable lessees. Council is now in a position to decide whether to issue a lease for the BBCC and if a decision to lease is made, who to issue the lease to." "There is no legal requirement to advise the community through public notice, or to or seek feedback through public exhibition for dealings in operational land." "Should Council decide to lease the Community Centre, the large majority of users at BBCC will be relocated to Hanging Rock Function Centre, Mackay Park Function Centre, and the Batemans Bay Library meeting room. The Batemans Bay Child and Family Centre, Hanging Rock Basketball Stadium and Malua Bay Community Hall will also be utilised, although to a lesser extent. These venues have significant spare capacity to absorb the relocated user groups." "This report recommends Council considers approving a lease with the General Manager delegated to conclude negotiations with the preferred candidate. Should those negotiations not result in a satisfactory outcome, then negotiations will be held with the other candidate."

The Public Forum session, scheduled prior to the Council meeting, will be conducted via ZOOM. Applications to speak at the public forum and a written copy of what you will be presenting to Council must be received by Council, Executive Services (02 4474 1358 or council.meetings@esc.nsw.gov.au ), no later than 12.00 noon of the business day prior to the meeting. An application must identify the item of business on the agenda of the Council meeting the person wishes to speak on, and may state whether they wish to speak ‘for’ or ‘against’ the item.

Approved speakers will be provided with the weblink to connect to the ZOOM meeting. The Public forum session via ZOOM commences at 9.30am, so you will need to be logged into your device and connected to ZOOM at that time. If you do not have the necessary technology to connect to ZOOM, Council will accept a written copy of your presentation (by noon the Monday before), which will be provided to Councillors along with the approved list of speakers for their information and consideration.

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