It was great to see the much anticipated Plan D for the Mackay Park project and it is the best looking yet despite the old main compromises of a small pool and performance space being perpetuated.
We see again, too, further compromises which, combined with the old ones, really will inhibit the centre's ability to attract the maximum number of paying customers let alone from today's population, but even more so from a future demographic that would more likely patronise such venues.
The report for Tuesday's council meeting says key stakeholders have seen the plan but doesn't comment on what those people said - a few about-faces would have been required to accept the growing compromises and to give the plan any glowing endorsement.
Adding salt to the wounds is the revelation that final costs remain unknown nearly three years into the project - yet councillors are being asked to commit further to the project's development without such vital costing information being available for their properly considered decision making. With all the experts involved, it is astounding that someone can't come up with a realistic range of costs from best to worst case scenarios for councillors to consider before backing themselves, and the whole shire, further into a corner.
The report recommends councillors approve four things on August 27-
1. Endorse the concept design (as published in Wednesday's papers), as the preferred concept design to be used as the basis for the detailed design and for seeking development consent.
2. Consent to a development application being lodged for the development of the Batemans Bay Regional Aquatics, Arts and Leisure Centre.
3. Receive a further report on operational management model options and project budget.
4. Continues to work with Meals on Wheels to identify an alternate arrangement for the delivery of their services from Batemans Bay.
Councillors would be well advise to defer any decision on 1, 2 and 4 until the further report on costs and the operational management options (recommendation 3) is made available. We have waited three years and five months since the announcement of the old bowling club's purchase, so a few weeks more won't make any significant difference to the shrinking availability of trades or the escalating prices of materials being put in the report perhaps to suggest some urgency to accept the deficiencies in information available to councillors and the community.