Coral Andrerson - 12 December 2017
Coral Andrerson made the below comments at the Ordinary Council Meeting 12 December 2017.
Good morning everybody
My name is Coral Anderson from Caseys Beach in Batemans Bay, former NSW State School swimming representative and member of the Parramatta Swimming Club.
I am here today as a team member of Fight for Batemans Bay's 50m Pool. Our team is not just a couple of agitators. Our team is a team of thousands from the community who speak in one voice and that is to save our 50m pool in Batemans Bay, something that was a gift and has been enjoyed for over 50 years. Many members of our team of thousands were unable to attend today's meeting in person so we are here to speak to you on their behalf.
Our team comprises the Batemans Bay Swimming Club, St Bernards Catholic School, Batemans Bay Soldiers Club, CEO Odonata Endeavour College (professional coach and University lecturer), Mogo Public School, public schools within the Batemans Bay area, Principal St Peters College Broulee, Eurobodalla Public Schools Sporting Association (representing 11 member schools from Milton to Tilba, Life Member Moruya Swimming Club, Elite Energy Triathlon company, CWA Batemans Bay, CEO Swimming NSW, Broulee Surfers SLSC, Moruya SLSC, Aboriginal Elders, Batemans Bay Boars, Broulee Dolphins, as well as numerous community members who have written to local media and council-over 4,000 school children. The number is growing daily. We have prepared a convincing brief of evidence which has been sent to you, our Councillors, as well as to our local member Minister Andrew Constance.
Council's own Draft Aquatic Strategy says of its Key Findings on page 10 that 99% of those surveyed identified swimming as their top recreation activity.
The report goes on to say that 51% of those surveyed identified lap swimming as their top activity engaged in by patrons at their most used facility. Batemans Bay residents had higher levels of health and fitness club membership (20%) than Moruya (12%) and Narooma (9%). The most popular desired activity for the future was swimming - making up 35% of the overall responses. The next most popular future activities were golf (16%), tennis outdoors (14%), gym/ weight training (13%) and bike riding (7%)."
The sport of swimming in Australia has the highest participation rate of all sports including football, cycling, hockey, tennis and cricket. Australia shines on the world stage in the sport of swimming at the Olympic level as well as the World Swimming Championships. Next year, the Gold Coast is hosting the Commonwealth Games where Australia is expected to once again show its prominence in the pool. We are extremely well represented by those swimmers with a disability many of whom have gone on to become world champions. Swimming affords everyone the opportunity to compete at an international level regardless of their ability ie amputees and the like.
When council sought letters of support from various community organisations in August 2017, including the schools, it did not disclose the plan to get rid of our 50m pool and replace it with only a 25m pool. This is deceptive to say the least. Once Batemans Bay Swimming Club and schools including St Peters and St Bernards as well as other sporting organisations and individuals learned of the concept plan with only a 25m pool, they subsequently withdrew their support and wrote to council accordingly. This information is now on the public record.
We have prepared a rough sketch plan to show how a 50m pool can easily be accommodated in the redevelopment. Our concern at this stage is that, despite reassurances from the mayor, once the funding has been finalised it will be very difficult to change the concept plans. This advice is set out clearly on NSW Sporting Infrastructure website and confirmed by Mr Ken Egan, Director, Facilities Strategy and Planning at Sport Infrastructure Group, NSW Office of Sport. His words were if any changes were to be made to the concept plans then 'sooner rather than later is better'. This advice was also confirmed by Minister Constance office.
The community has spoken in a loud voice. We want to keep our 50m pool in the Mackay Park Redevelopment Plans. We stand with Perfex and the Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce in its vision for a vibrant arts/cultural facility with a larger capacity auditorium. We also stand with the Batemans Bay Indoor Aquatic Committee and applaud their efforts over a number of years. The current concept plan just doesn't cut it. We believe we can come up with something better that will bring us together and not pull us apart.
Council says we can't afford it, we say WHY NOT?