11 September 2019

Federal Labor backs Batemans Bay Aquatic and Arts Centre

| Ian Campbell
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Concept A, one of three concept designs prepared by NBRS Architecture. Photo: ESC

Concept A, one of three concept designs for the new Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts & Leisure Centre prepared by NBRS Architecture. Photo: ESC

Federal Labor’s candidate in Gilmore says a Shorten Government will provide the funds to make the Batemans Bay Regional Aquatic, Arts & Leisure Centre a reality.

The $25 million commitment comes just a day after feedback on three concept plans for the centre closed, a process that has including protests around the retention of a 50-metre pool.

While Fiona Phillips has been supportive of those lobbying Eurobodalla Shire Council she says Labor’s commitment is for the project that is currently being proposed by Council.

Speaking to Region Media, Ms Phillips says, “I understand people’s feelings around losing the existing 50-metre pool, but I don’t want us to risk losing this whole new centre.”

Labor’s $25 million investment will go towards plans for a 25 metre, 10 lane indoor heated pool, a warm water aqua therapy pool for fitness classes and with ramp access, a toddler and leisure pool suitable for learn-to-swim classes, a water play splash pad, water slides, gym and fitness areas.

It’s a facility that would replace the existing outdoor 50-metre pool at Mackay Park.

In addition, plans for the centre feature an auditorium, wet and dry artistic workspaces, soundproof dance and rehearsal studios, a recording studio and meeting rooms.

Ms Phillips says, “This is a facility that has been long overdue for the Batemans Bay community.”

“My first involvement in politics was when I stepped up to lead the campaign to save Nowra’s community pool.

“I know how important these types of facilities are for local families and the wider community.

“Labor knows that investing in infrastructure isn’t just about building roads and rail – it’s about investing in better lives for the community, through increased access to sports and leisure facilities like this one.”

The total project is worth $51 million, of which Council has secured about half via the NSW Government. The Liberal-National Morrison Government has indicated its willingness to provide the balance once a detailed business case is assessed; that process is underway.

Region Media understands an announcement from the government will be made shortly. The Labor opposition has the jump in the meantime in the run up to the yet to be announced Federal Election date.

Ms Phillips says she encourages those lobbying for a 50-metre pool to keep going.

“My personal view is that a 50-metre outdoor pool would compliment and be an asset to the indoor facility proposed by Council,” she says.

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50m pool definitely and no wading pool – the water feature pool with tipping buckets and fountains will be adequate as the current wading pool gets very LITTLE use. Also NO gym (how many do we actually need?) What is the connection between Aquatic/Performing Arts Centre and wood working workshop/pottery/art studio? Visual and tactile arts should have their own separate location somewhere else (possibly Hanging Rock or Bowling Club site) and not be included in the limited space allocated for the Aquatic Centre

Marc Chaplin8:43 pm 18 Feb 19

Opportunity missed for the one issue that the community has shouted from the hilltops. We want a 50 metre pool. The community feeling is so strong, it could be decisive in the upcoming State and Federal elections. Still waiting for a politician that will listen to the electorate.

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