The proposal to lease the Batemans Bay Community Centre has for months caused distress to volunteer groups.
Its very name gives you a clue why: Community Centre. Such centres were established so volunteer groups - the backbone of rural and regional towns - could meet, learn and stay healthy.
Our shire has roughly double the national average of people aged over 65 years - more than a quarter of our population. Our volunteering ethic is also well above average. Many sit in both groups - members of an older demographic who wish to give back.
Older people who remain physically and mentally active are less likely to get anxious, lonely and depressed. By keeping their bodies and minds moving, they can also move the needle on ugly statistics for heart disease, diabetes, stroke, kidney disease etc. They contribute to a healthier and happier community - and boost their own sense of engagement and well being.
So it was with unease several months ago we learned the shire was considering leasing the centre - regardless of whom to. When that proposed lessor pulled out, it was with disappointment we learned the issue was still a live one, stressing out Meals on Wheels, U3A, social and arts groups and more. This is a base-line service for ratepayers, not an excuse to raise revenue. It is comfortable, accessible, close to public transport - everything community groups need. It should continue to live up to its name. No amount of clever wording can improve on what we already have and Mackay Pk is a long way off in the future.
The sprung dance floor has seen line dancing, rock 'n' roll, fancy dress. It puts a spring in the step of those who use it.
Councillors should spring for a decision in favour of the community. After the distress this uncertainty has caused, the three gentlemen pictured are unlikely to be offended by the following words: "Leave these (mostly) old folk in peace."