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Councillors reaffirm support for Mackay Park concept

Wednesday 28 March 2018

Eurobodalla Councillors have reaffirmed their commitment to the concept design of the new Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre at Mackay Park, Batemans Bay.

The concept endorsed by Council includes a 25-metre lap pool as a key component, as well as a dedicated warm water therapy pool, a leisure and learn to swim pool, toddler pool, splash-play area, waterslides, and gym, fitness and wellness areas. The arts component includes an auditorium with flexible performance and seating options, multi-purpose meeting and workshop rooms, gallery and visitors information centre, as well as a shared foyer, café and retail space.

In a Mayoral Minute presented to councillors on Tuesday, Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes said the proposed concept responded to the highest priority needs of the community in a financially responsible manner.

It came following NSW Premier Gladys Berejiklian’s announcement on Monday that the NSW government would provide $26 million for the project.

Mayor Innes said Council could now get on with planning for the $46 million facility with confidence.

“We will continue to advocate for funding to complete this wonderful centre that the majority of our community wants and can now see becoming a reality.”

“This will be a fantastic result for our community. After more than 20 years of Batemans Bay residents calling and fundraising for an indoor aquatic centre, and advocating for purpose-built arts and cultural facilities, we are now capitalising on all this community input. We are so close to seeing it happen, and we will deliver,” she said.

Information presented to Council outlined the condition of the existing outdoor 50m pool in Batemans Bay, which will be demolished to make way for the new centre.

“Councillors made a clear decision on Tuesday that we are not going to retain the existing pool,” Cr Innes said.

“It’s more than 50 years old and beginning to fail, it’s closed half the year, it doesn’t meet current competition standards, and nor does it meet modern water filtration or disability access requirements. It’s a relic and doesn’t meet our community’s needs.

“Councillors have visited other aquatic facilities as part of their fact-finding, and the consistent message from industry specialists is that we’re on the money with our approach.

“Our centre will cater for people who need warm water therapy, our kids who need to learn to swim, swim clubs who need a year-round indoor facility, locals and visitors who want some fun on the slides and the splash pad - we’re providing for all of them.”

Cr Innes noted the facility would be designed to allow for expansion, if and when needed into the future.

Councillors also endorsed an increase in the width of the 25m lap pool from eight lanes to 10, and to investigate the potential for provision of long-distance ocean swimming facilities in an appropriate location in Batemans Bay.

Meanwhile, Council is preparing a Request for Expressions of Interest from developers to redevelop the northern precinct of Mackay Park (the former bowling club site). Preferred options for the site were determined with input from the community in 2016 and include conference and event facilities, restaurants and cafes, tourism accommodation and/or residential accommodation.

“In the meantime Council is progressing negotiations with Roads and Maritime Service for the use of the site and building during construction of the new Batemans Bay Bridge,” Cr Innes said.

“I expect a positive, mutually-agreed outcome to be reached, and given this, we have the time to get the planning right for any future development while the RMS has temporary use of the site to build the bridge.”