Lei Parker - 7 June 2022

Lei Parker presented to Council at the Public Access Session on 7 June 2022.

Public Access presentation – June 7th 2022 – Lei Parker

Batemans Bay Bowling Club site.


Currently the Batemans Bay Bowling Club site is listed for sale via an agent.I have verified with the agent that the property is FOR SALE and not just for LEASE.

the advert reads:

Please note that council are willing to consider changes to the zoning and you can investigate the height limits when making your offer. Your options are limitless.

It appears that YOU, the elected councillors, are willing to consider changes to the zoning and height limits. Surely this requires public engagement and not the willingness of Council staff.

The advert suggests to prospective buyers that “Your options are limitless”.

Really, “Limitless”?

The advertisement says “This site would be ideal for a much needed 5-star hotel with a convention centre and a world-class restaurant.”

Really? What evidence exist that Batemans Bay is in need of a 5 star hotel? How do Council staff support this claim?

What evidence is there that the town still needs a convention centre, especially when you consider that you have just constructed an $8 million dollar multi-purpose event centre next door?

Why on earth would the advertisement mention the need for “a world class restaurant”? What evidence is there to support this claim without evidence of demand required for such an investment.

It is well known that you would need to have at least 80 beds in a hotel to service a restaurant and at least 100 beds to begin to justify a convention centre. It also well known that five star hotels require a level of service that is far removed from capacities of most of our local hospitality staff.

Who are these five star guests, and where will we find the five star staff to meet the category that needs to be serviced 24/7.

Who is advising the prospective developers and what do they base their figures on? Where is our in house five star expertise?

Given that conventions have been heavily impacted by the pandemic, and the fact that we already have within Batemans Bay an under-utilised 500 seat convention centre the question needs to be asked – is this really what council wants? The advertisement certainly suggests so.

According to YOUR staff YOUR preferred outcomes for the site are:
1. Conference and events facilities
2. Restaurants and cafes
3. Tourist and visitor accommodation
4. Residential accommodation

Behind the scenes your planners have long had their own perception of strategic and sustainable growth.

The business development arm of council continues to work in isolation of councillors. There is no representative business advisory committee. It was abandoned by the previous mayor, as was the tourism advisory committee.

Basically there is little known of the direction Council is taking in strategic and sustainable growth and virtually no connect between Council and those who actually have “skin in the game”.  Batemans Bay still has no Master Plan.

Without a Master Plan is Council prepared to consider localised changes to the zoning and investigate the height limits of this site. Will Council extend its “willingness” to other development application in the Bay?

Don’t these changes to the LEP require the input of the community?

I wish to remind Councillors of a commitment that this Council made to its residents and ratepayers in July 2016.

At the Council meeting of TUESDAY 12 JULY 2016:

Council assured the community that they will not lose tenure over any of the four titles of Bowling Club land, without comprehensive and transparent community engagement.

This came about after submissions received from the public suggested a strong distrust of Council when they recommended the site be classified as Operational, which would allow Council to sell the property without community consultation.

Councillors, exactly what is the current status of the Batemans Bay Bowling Club site?

On the 9th of February 2022 Council announced that:

“The future of the site will be a matter for Councillors to decide, requiring a Council resolution.”

“This time, we’ll engage a commercial real estate agent to secure proposals for purchase and development. This does not bind Council in any way to any course of action. Instead, the results will be presented to Councillors for their consideration on the property’s future.”

Once appointed, the real estate agent will make more information publicly available”.

The agent has been appointed. Why does the community now have to rely on the agent to make more information publicly available. And what is this information?

Might one of you raise a Question on Notice seeking an update on the sale so that YOU, and WE, can learn of exactly what YOUR preferred options are before WE, the community, are told what YOU have decided without OUR promised engagement.

Council staff claim that YOU have “preferred options”.

By my memory these are not YOUR “preferred options” but those of a General Manager nearly three decades ago, long before The Pav, Ohana, Corrigans Cove, the new bridge, the foreshore improvements, the marina expansion, the hatted Sandbar restaurant, Lincoln Downs and the new Yuin Theatre event space.

We have come a long way from the statement made April 29th,2016 by Lindsay Brown following the purchase of the site when he said:

““Now that our community officially owns the new site we invite you to tell us your ideas. This will give us a good understanding of community expectations which we will consider with any expressions of interest received, and ensuring the proposal is financially viable and creates jobs and investment opportunities”.

By my memory the preferred options now listed are NOT those put forward by  the community. The request for community suggestions was nothing but lip service.  

Council assured the community that they will not lose tenure over any of the four titles of Bowling Club land, without comprehensive and transparent community engagement. When does Council intend to begin that process?