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Maureen Searson - 13 February 2018

Maureen Searson made the below comments at the Ordinary Council Meeting 13 February 2018.

Over recent days Council has been out and about selling their Aquatic Plan for the Mackay Park precinct re development plan to the community. Council tells us that a 50m pool indoor heated pool in the new aquatic facility is "unaffordable". According to what people are telling them more people are going to use an indoor 25m heated pool anyway.  We challenge these costings

In seeking endorsement for the Aquatic plan from the Batemans Bay Swimming Club and local schools, Council did not disclose to these groups that a 25m pool was replacing a 50m pool. On discovery of Council's plans these groups withdrew their support for the Mackay Park Precinct Aquatic Plans. Will Councillors continue to condone this deception?

What do major pool users say?

Jeni McCarthy - Batemans Bay Swimming Club "Our support was with the Council until, we were informed, only when plans/project were released to the public that the Bay area was going to lose their 50m outdoor pool.  We need to let you know our honest opinion.... we were 100% behind the 25m indoor pool, but to lose the 50m pool was never on our radar.”

Jacqueline Heffernan - Principal St Bernards Primary School "We are writing to express our concern that the existing Batemans Bay Swimming Pool will be downsized to a 25 metre pool instead of a 50 metre pool as currently exists. Could you please put forward to those at the meeting that they reconsider the proposal to downsize the pool."

Erin Eade Rel Principal of Mogo Public School - Mogo Public School is in support of the new leisure centre/swimming complex; however as a school using the public facility we would ask that a 50 metre swimming pool be retained in the leisure facility plan. Schools as part of the swimming programs need this size pool to practise distance swimming techniques as well as tumble turns."

Eurobodalla PSSA -"To build an 8 lane 25m pool will only provide the community with 200m of  swimming space which is a 33% reduction on what is currently available. On behalf of our PSSA association we would urge the council to consider an Aquatic Centre with a 50m pool.”

Karyn Starma: VP Moruya Surf Life Saving Club - Moruya SLSC has many concerns that the ESC's  preferred option is based on an incomplete business case using incorrect figures for costs and usage  and is not in sync with the communities' spirit, needs or desires… a 25m pool does not meet training needs of Moruya SLSC members. Nor does it meet the needs of the community who need the stamins and skills of longer distance swimming for ocean activities.”

What do experts in swimming say?

Swimming NSW Mark Heathcote to Eurobodalla Shire Council - I am writing on behalf of Swimming NSW to provide a Statement of Support to retain a 50m Olympic sized swimming pool in Batemans Bay. Swimming NSW maintains a membership of over 34,000 members across 12 affiliated Areas and over 350 Clubs where our aim is to promote, to teach and to encourage the sport of swimming.  We also administer, promote and encourage Learn-to-Swim and swimming activities for competitive and recreational purposes across a wide range of aquatic facilities state wide.

Clinton Camilleri swimming coach from Auburn Swimming Club – Auburn swimming club attended  Batemans Bay aquatic centre for its annual training camp this year as it was the perfect preparations for the commonwealth games this year and its trials competition. A few of the necessities I look for when organizing a training camp is 50m and its availability.

Elite Energy who host the Batemans Bay Triathlon Festival every year - We have been made aware that Eurobodalla Shire Council is planning to re develop Mackay Park Precinct changing the 50 metre pool to a 25 metre pool. We feel this would prevent athletes from coming to Batemans Bay to train and join in any swim squads. Elite Energy supports the inclusion of a 50 metre pool in the new Aquatic Centre and welcomes the re development but not at the expense of the 50 metre pool.

Susie Maroney, AOM Marathon Swimmer -  I  support the  retention  or upgrade  of  the existing  50 metre pool at Batemans Bay within the planned leisure facility plan. An Olympic sized pool in my opinion is essential for the training of talented young swimmers and to develop distance swimming endurance

Last but not least a comment from Walbunja Custodian Elders group –

We the Elders, believe that the whole of the Bay Community including members of the Aboriginal communities, would benefit greatly from a proposal to extend the current planned pool size from 25 meters to 50 metre status. Councilors are elected by the community to make decisions in the public interest for the whole community. There was no mention during the 2016 election campaign by candidates including Mayor Innes that future decisions made by Councilors would not be in the best present and future interests of the whole Batemans Bay and surrounding community. I am aware that you have visited various swimming centers to see what has been done in other Shires. I would urge Councilors' to talk to all of the above-mentioned stakeholders in the Eurobodalla, to inform your decision making as to what is in the best interests of the whole Eurobodalla Shire.

Council's reply

Contributions from the community are welcomed and offer insight to Council. In this regard, I would like to thank you for taking the time and effort to contribute to the public access session at the Ordinary Meeting of Council held on Tuesday 13 February 2018 in relation to the Aquatic Plan for the Mackay Park precinct.

Council has liaised and will continue to liaise with all interested members of the community and other stakeholders regarding the Regional Aquatic, Arts and Leisure Centre at Mackay Park, Batemans Bay.

Thank you once again for making the effort to contribute to Council meetings on such important issues.