With the opening of Bay Pavilions on the horizon there is no better time to look back at the history of the Batemans Bay Indoor Aquatic Centre Committee Inc. (BBIACC). Forming back in 2003, it is the incredible persistence of the BBIACC and their almost two decades worth of hard work that has helped deliver the community a truly incredible facility in Bay Pavilions.
How it all started
Batemans Bay Indoor Aquatic Centre Committee Inc. (BBIACC) was formed by concerned citizens who had recognised the need for an Indoor Aquatic Centre in the local shire. Batemans Bay had an existing outdoor 50m lap pool; however, it was only open for half of the year, meaning locals were unable to learn to swim or water train year-round. The BBIACC also saw importance in a warm water therapy pool, given the high proportion of older adults that made up the local population.
The BBIACC began monthly public meetings, which allowed citizens to show their support, offer their experiences, and explain their personal needs for a heated indoor facility. From there, the group began working on methods to achieve their goal, including major fundraising events, like dinner dances, fashion parades, garage sales, and novelty events such as The Dry Swim and Dunk the Dentist.
The committee regularly operated stalls in the local shopping centre, selling T-shirts and plush toy dolphins. The initiative soon developed into a generous flow of handicrafts donated by locals wanting to contribute.
Perseverance turns to progress
Fundraising aside, the stalls provided a suitable place for committee members to talk to the community and determine how local people could best use an indoor Aquatic Centre. Surveys, petitions and letters of support from health workers, aged care centres, disability groups, schools, sporting groups and other pool users were also collected and given to the council.
Meetings with various politicians highlighted the committee’s cause at a State and Federal Government level. While committee members also began visiting Indoor Aquatic Centres in other towns, taking part in local media interviews, and attending Chamber of Commerce meetings. A street march that was televised further helped the push continue to gain significant momentum.
Finally, in 2018 Federal and State Government grants, which were enhanced by the amount of money raised and the persistence of the BBIACC, were awarded. BBIACC was represented on several workshops and sunset committees in the lead-up to architectural designs being drawn up and the commencement of Bay Pavilions.
After over 15-years of work, the BBIACC has now achieved its vision of providing a year-round Indoor Aquatic Centre that is suitable for people of all ages and abilities. The result, a modern facility with a 25m lap pool, warm water therapy pool, leisure pool, four water slides, indoor and outdoor splash play areas, will open in 2022.
Carolyn Harding, President BBIACC