A last-minute mayoral report has pulled the plug on a 50-metre pool in Batemans Bay at the Tuesday, March 27, Eurobodalla Shire Council meeting.
Councillors were given a short period to consider the eight-page document, which included 11 recommendations.
One of the recommendations was that council: “Not include a 50m pool in the proposed centre or retain the existing 50m pool.”
Another was that council adopt the contentious Otium 1 concept plan as the basis for “undertaking the detailed design” of the proposed Mackay Park aquatic and arts centre.
Mayor Liz Innes said the purpose of the recommendations was to make the council’s position clear: “I have been to many meetings and listened to arguments for and against. This is an intentional statement to the community that we have considered all options in front of us and we are absolutely confident making a decision at this time.”
Councillor James Thomson commended the recommendations: “Point six is the one we need to get out there, so the community knows what we’re doing.”
Councillor Jack Tait said everyone involved in the aquatic centre planning should “take a deep breath and give themselves a pat on the back”.
Councillor Patrick McGinlay said he was happy with most recommendations, but not the recommendation to preclude a 50-metre pool: “People continue to advocate for (the 50-metre pool) and item six totally blocks that out. I can’t support that.”
Councillor Anthony Mayne was concerned a 500-seat auditorium would compete with the Soldiers Club: “This is the biggest grant fund we’ve received. I want to know that in voting for this today I’m not voting for 500 seats.”
General manager Catherine Dale said the number of seats could be reconsidered: “Architects will look at it, it might be 500, it might be 450, or it might be something completely different.”
Although the recommendations include room for future expansion, Dr Dale said that did not necessarily mean a larger pool: “It could be a pool, a sculpture garden, anything – it’s up to future councils.”
The report also recommended council investigate the potential for long-distance-swimming facilities in the ocean in the Batemans Bay area.