The great sell off
The BDN reported on Councillor Bain's suggestion that council should sell its present Civic Centre, library and Art Gallery, and redevelop a new complex on the old hospital site next to the new TAFE.
My purpose in writing is to clarify how the current council has reached its present precarious state:
1 With the election of the new council in 2016 we saw a selection of councillors from across the shire, all hoping to make a difference,
2 I don't believe any councillor elected had a fundamental understanding of the problems in running this shire,
3 The council is currently predicting an $11m loss as at 30/6/21 and only the new council in September will see the true picture, with a new general manager in place,
4 Since September last, the mayor has supported Councillor Bain's election promise to sell Merimbula assets,
5 To date the Merimbula branch office of council has been sold, as has the community land on Arthur Kaine Drive. Now anticipated is the Merimbula Learning Centre - and yet to come the Tura Murrang Library and Community Centre - all with the intent of reducing debt at the cost of the south of the shire.
6 To now suggest a clearance sale of Bega community assets which will be difficult to sell, and develop the prior hospital site at a further major cost and debt to the whole community I think is irresponsible and needs public debate.
Michael Britten, Merimbula
Sell off a massive fail
I think I can guess which councillors are hell bent on flogging off our community assets. These building and amenities are more than dollar values - they are community owned and vital. Our regional gallery and community centres are valuable places to celebrate our future. These neo-liberal councillors are ignoring historic failures of selloffs for short-term political agendas. The public ownership of these amenities is essential to maintain our cultural values.
Jamie Shaw, Mogareeka
Civic Centre costs
It's absolutely no surprise at all that the Civic Centre is under-utilised, when the cost to book it for local use is out of the price range of all but the largest theatre productions. While expert opinion was given during the planning stage, which could have resulted in a top-shelf theatre space, the centre was designed to be all things to all people, and as such it is unsuitable for most applications and too costly for most groups.When Theatre Onset tried to negotiate for a cheaper price for a production in September 2020, we were told it wasn't possible to change the price structure - it seems the COVID change came in as COVID went out!
Rebecca Lupton, Bega
Town centre rejuvenation
I moved to the Merimbula area eight years ago from Perth to be closer to my family. My first impressions of the town was a beautiful location but a town lacking in identity. I still feel the same way today.
Your Town Summit Report features extensive photos of The Plaza, one of the few areas in town with atmosphere. Many country and coastal towns evolve over time with no direction and little thought given to the importance of architecture.
Given Merimbula is such a town, the question is what can we do, in a cost effective way, to make the town centre a more pleasant place to be. I believe the answer is to deflect attention from the mediocre appearance of the buildings with street trees. I look at the beautiful Jacaranda tree in the courtyard of Dulcies and it fills me with joy. I wish I had the same feeling just around the corner in Market Street. Apart from Dulcies and The Plaza, our town is sadly lacking character, style and ambiance. Let's plant a few trees and rejoice in the transformation of our little town.
Tony Rice, Tura Beach