It will be just over a month until the Batemans Bay community can hit the waterslides at the new multi-million dollar Bay Pavilions arts and aquatic centre but they’ve already been given the mayoral tick of approval.
This week marked the official completion of the $69 million construction project and politicians, user group representatives, community campaigners, former councillors, and council staff were among guests at an invitation-only ribbon-cutting ceremony on 28 April 2022.
A traditional smoking ceremony performed by Aboriginal dance group Muladha Gamara cleansed the site, before their Welcome to Country officially began proceedings.
Senator Jim Molan, NSW Arts Minister Ben Franklin and Eurobodalla Mayor Mathew Hatcher cut the ceremonial ribbon, assisted by former Eurobodalla Mayor Liz Innes, Bega MP Dr Michael Holland, Gilmore MP Fiona Phillips, and former Bega MP Andrew Constance, before guests toured the facility.
A highlight of the tour was a piano performance in the Yuin Theatre, followed by an explanation of its state-of-the-art features from theatre design consultant Richard Stewart.
A fully-clothed Eurobodalla Mayor Hatcher and Ms Innes then “christened” the indoor waterslides with much gusto.
“Despite COVID and weather issues, we have come in on time and on budget. Each and every person here today has contributed to creating this spectacular facility,” Cr Hatcher said.
The total budget came to $69 million, of which $51 million came from grants the Eurobodalla Shire Council secured from the NSW and Federal governments.
Community advocates, including Carolyn Harding, have campaigned for almost 30 years for an aquatic centre in Batemans Bay. Ms Harding said it was more than she could ever have imagined.
“We were expecting an extension of our old pool – we’ve got something bigger and better than any other aquatic centre I’ve ever been to,” she said.
The aquatic centre treats the region to a long-awaited indoor aquatic centre with a 25-metre pool with ramp access, 10-metre warm water hydrotherapy/program pool, and a learn-to-swim and toddler leisure pool.
It also includes a splash park, four waterslides up to 64 metres long, gym, and a group fitness area. Other facilities, including a café and visitor information services, will be available.
Batemans Bay locals and visitors will also be able to take advantage of the arts and cultural centre, with an auditorium with retractable seating for 350 people, dressing rooms, green rooms, gallery/exhibition space, dance/rehearsal studios, wet and dry arts workshop space and storage.
Aligned Leisure, the centre’s managing company, has already begun completing the fit-out and training around 80 staff before the centre’s grand opening on Saturday 4 June.
“I’m so excited, and so pleased to see what was a dream come to fruition,” Ms Harding said.
Not everyone is happy, however, with a small group of protesters gathering out the front of the new facility bearing placards asking why a 50-metre pool wasn’t included.
For more information about theatre ticket sales, and upcoming community events, visit the Bay Pavilions website.