Eurobodalla Labor is committed to ensuring that community assets such as the pavilion, are accessible to all. The Council’s primary function is to serve the Eurobodalla community, from the poorest to the richest. It needs to make sure that the facilities it provides are not inaccessible to those who have the least. We are not convinced that the proposed fees and charges meet this criterion, and seem to have been formulated to reduce the large deficit this Council has incurred as a result of very poor decisions throughout the life of this project.
This is the presentation prepared by Maureen Searson on the proposed fees and charges for the Batemans Bay Pavilion.
Presentation CAR21/016 Maureen Searson
Good morning Councillors.
The Agenda for today’s meeting for proposed fees and charges for the Bay Pavilions states ‘through
detailed analysis the proposed fees and charges are comparatively affordable but also allow the facility
to be financially sustainable in years to come.’ I am very concerned that the proposed fees and charges
will not be affordable for many people in the Eurobodalla.
Before recent events the Eurobodalla had high unemployment and youth unemployment rates,
unaffordable rents, housing affordability and growing rates of homelessness. The Otium Planning Group
Aquatic Strategy 2017 notes -‘the significantly lower incomes compared to NSW and higher levels of
socioeconomic disadvantage, suggests residents’ access to aquatic and leisure programs and services
may be price sensitive.’ Noted also in the 2017 Otium Aquatic Strategy is that the Eurobodalla is a
tourist destination with a strong tourist sector. However this was before the 2019/2020 black summer
bushfires and the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic that currently has no end.
Did the detailed analysis provided by Otium and council staff factor in the ongoing and significant
financial and social hardships that many small businesses, the local workforce and many families are still
facing after the 2019/2020 black summer bushfires and the ongoing covid-19 pandemic?
What is the cost benefit for potential users of the Bay Pavillions and how affordable are the proposed
fees and charges?
For example the cost of hiring a swimming lane at $42 per hour for use 5 days a week as regular
swimmers do would be $210. While some people swim in groups and could share this cost, bearing in
mind that a larger group will now have to hire more than one lane. The cost for many people would be
Following are some responses –
‘Ulladulla have recently put their pool entry up to $6.30. But in addition to the year round indoor 25
metre pool, you also get access to the outdoor 50 metre pool in the warmer months, at no extra
‘Well I will not be going at those prices or taking grandchildren. How many families will not be able to
afford these prices? How many children will not learn to swim?’
In relation to a day pass for the waterslide – It will cost ‘$140 to take my husband and our 6 children on a
The Agenda states the ‘proposed pricing of hiring the theatre is comparable to other regional theatres of
a similar scale.’ While all of NSW is impacted by Covid-19 did Council compare other regional theatres in
other bushfire affected areas?
The Agenda states ‘the proposed fees and charges will influence the potential revenue that the Bay
Pavilions will generate. These fees and charges have also been used by Otium Planning Group to
establish a business model for the facility.’ In a letter dated July 2020 the Office of Local Government
noted that the Bay Pavilions ‘built facility is projected to operate at a loss for 10 years.’ Are the proposed
fees and charges based on compensating for the projected operational loss and running the facility for
profit or based on what is affordable for the community?
The Council has the opportunity in the exhibition period to show that it is capable of real
consultation and agreement with the community it serves. It needs to put into practice
its Community Engagement Charter which says "Engagement is a two way street. We will be:
transparent, proactive, available, genuine and consistent". Engagement begins with listening
and listening ensures that those making decisions that affect our everyday lives do not exist in a
bubble of their own knowledge and ideas.
We need to see that those who make decisions on behalf of our community for this landmark
project listen to the whole community, and make sure this facility is available to all, regardless
of their income. We do not need to see the Council trying to cover its mistakes by trying to
cover its losses by making this facility only available to those who can afford inflated prices.
Eurobodalla Labor candidates want to know how you have calculated the proposed fees and charges for
the Bay Pavilions and will all community members be able to afford to use it? We do not want to see
individuals and families in the Eurobodalla being excluded because they cannot afford to use a facility
they have helped pay for.
Labor Candidate for Eurobodalla Council