Community groups have sought assurances a 50-metre pool is not off the table for the Batemans Bay aquatic center, despite the 25-metre pool on the concept plan.
Fight for Batemans Bay’s 50-metre Pool group organised a meeting with Infrastructure Minister and Bega MP Andrew Constance, and Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Liz Innes on Friday, November 17.
Ray Davidson, of the Eurocoast Triathlon Club, wanted to know if the 25-metre pool was “locked in”.
“We have four Australian champions training,” he said.
“I understand costs and logistics but why can’t we have it?”
Mayor Liz Innes reiterated statements made by Eurobodalla Shire Council that a 50-metre pool was not off the table – as long as it could stand up financially.
“Nothing is locked in, however, council has supported a concept design that went for funding with a 25-metre pool,” she said.
“The rationale behind not including a 50-metre pool is to cater for the broadest cross-section of the community and keep the project affordable.
“If we, as a community, can afford a 50-metre pool, that’s what we would endeavour to deliver.”
Maureen Searson, of the Fight for Batemans Bay’s 50-metre Pool group sought further clarification on the concept design.
“We’ve been told that once funding has been locked in it’s hard to make changes to the application,” she said.
“Can you explain that?”
Bega MP Andrew Constance said from his perspective there would be no issues with altering the design if affordable.
“If we can deliver a better product that’s what we should do,” he said.
“Ultimately, running costs will have to be evaluated against other interests in the shire.”
Cr Innes urged caution in the current phase of planning.
“At this point in time we don’t know what funds we have to deliver, so we have to be cautious,” she said.
“And we might end up looking at a shortfall of funding and having to consider what more we can go without.”
She did commit to reviewing the cost estimate council was working from.
“We’ve made a commitment – not because we were told we had to, we were always going to – to look at what other costings and options may be available,” she said.
The Fight for Batemans Bay’s 50-metre Pool group remained unconvinced, and sought a commitment on a 50-metre pool to be included in a revised concept plan.
Cr Innes said 50 metres was not off the table, but would not confirm it’s inclusion in the concept plan.
“Fifty metres at this stage has never been off the table, but I don’t want to give people false hope that we’ll be able to deliver it,” she said.