Good Morning General Manager, Mayor and Councillors. I’m Matthew Findlay from
Eurobodalla Labor. As sayings go, Business is business. If you have a go, you get a go and
Competition is healthy. But what’s not healthy is Government undercutting, over saturating
and wastefully using space and materials to choke local small businesses into the red.
It is well known in the fitness industry of Batemans Bay that when one gym opens, another
gets closer to closing its doors. That’s been life for private fitness businesses in the
Eurobodalla shire, but when Government interfere and Council adds a 656m2 gymnasium to
the mix, it raises the question: Why has council chosen to make life even more difficult for
Batemans Bay business, especially as they struggle with the aftermath of both the 2020
bushfires and COVID?
We all know fitness is an integral part of life and should be encouraged by all means but
when Council decides to take food off the table of small business owners, it defeats the
purpose and completely misses the mark of any moral and ethical doing. With the several
established local gyms, multiple private personal trainers and the rise of home gym
equipment sales due to the pandemic, why was this thought of as a plausible and equitable
I think that it’s worth noting that a similar proposal for a gym at the Narooma swimming pool
had been developed by this council back in 2009. Understandably, local gym operators
were outraged and received the strong support of the local Chamber of Commerce in their
fight to save their businesses and livelihoods.
In its representations to the council at that time, the Narooma Chamber made a number of
valid points and alternative suggestions. I’ll quote some of them to you.
“We ask that council seriously considers the economic impact of its proposal”
“We feel it is important that we don’t ‘double up’ on existing facilities and/or fitness programs
within a limited demographic. We would suggest tailoring the proposal to include
complementary additions to the current ‘fitness and health’ facilities within the district instead
of introducing a very similar concept to that which already exists.”
“Whilst we understand the importance of improving the financial results of the swimming
pool, we feel there are better options for stimulating visitor numbers at the facility and would
be more than happy to meet with you to discuss them.”
Thankfully, on that occasion, common sense prevailed and the gym proposal was rejected
by the councillors.
With the removal of the well established and much loved Batemans Bay Mini Golf, one of our
holiday activities was stripped away from us, leaving visitors of the area with beaches and
bush. These are all well and good but how many times can you drag a child up Pigeon
House mountain without a struggle.
Myself and Eurobodalla Labor feel that this particular area in the Bay Pav needs to be
developed as another holiday/tourism activity. With the area being covered, Council should
explore all year round leasing prospects which don’t further damage local business and give
the wider public an opportunity to utilise the space.
This gym, like The Pav, seems to have been decided too hastily, with no proper regard for
the future of locals and business of the area. Labor supports Bay Business. Please rethink
the use of space, for the future of our town.