LAKE Macquarie mayor Kay Fraser said the community has been "absolutely dudded" after she was told at a recent site inspection that a replacement for the Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre would not have overnight accommodation or be "like-for-like".
The site was shuttered almost overnight in 2019 due to concerns about the risks the nearby Eraring Power Station's coal ash dam posed in the event of a 5.7 magnitude earthquake - deemed a once-in-a-5000-year event.
Now, Cr Fraser is pushing for the deed of agreement between Origin Energy and the NSW Office of Sport to be released to the public, saying the NSW Office of Sport confirmed to her the new centre would not have accommodation.
"I'm more determined than ever to think that this site is far too valuable to be lost to the community," she said.
"The decision that was made in 2019, I think it needs to be revisited before we rip out really important infrastructure.
"Now I'm being told it's not like-for-like, it won't be anywhere near what the sport and rec centre is and I'm not sure if it will just be a community hall.
"I think the community has been dudded, absolutely dudded, because this is a fantastic bit of land, it's got some really important infrastructure, it's going to cost $3 million to demolish it, they wouldn't need that much money to rejuvenate it and bring it back up to speed."
The council staved off a decision to approve the site's demolition last week. Instead, it will vote to seek permission to from NSW Lands and Property Minister Steve Kamper to refuse the demolition application.
The DA proposes to demolish all buildings and structures belonging to the former Myuna Bay Sport and Recreation Centre, including car parks, accommodation lodges and outdoor activity spaces, and councillors don't have the power to knock it back without ministerial approval.
A motion to councillors at tonight's meeting argues the DA isn't in the public interest due to the loss of value of existing infrastructure to the community in the absence of a proposed replacement, the need for accessible and publicly operated recreation facilities, loss of social capital and the absence of detail for the future use of the site.
They will also vote on whether to ask for the deed of agreement between Origin and the NSW Office of Sport to be made public.
Without it, Cr Fraser said the council is essentially "flying blind".
"They're asking us to make a determination or decision and we don't know what's in that deed," she said.
"We need to crack that open for transparency. We're a very transparent council, so I'm asking the NSW Office of Sport to be as transparent as us and show us the deed."
Liberal Cr Jason Pauling backed the mayor's call, saying he'd be amazed if Monday's vote wasn't unanimous.
"Outside of the disrupt of that arrangement, a whole pack of promises that haven't been fulfilled and maybe won't be fulfilled, there's this secret deal done that no-one knows how much money we're talking about, no-one knows any detail that's in there - it just doesn't pass the pub test in any way, shape or form," he said.
"The only way to dispel those questions is to make that deed public, and I don't understand why there would be an objection.
"It's like, why is there a big secret? But there is a big secret."
Cr Pauling said the site was in "remarkably good condition" and he was far from convinced it needed to be demolished, despite "poor security" resulting in someone excavating copper power lines from the ground.
He said he expects tonight's meeting to be the most united and fiery exchange he will have seen in the last decade on council.
"Everyone thinks it's a raw deal," he said.
The NSW Minister for Sport was contacted for comment.
The Office of Sport told the Newcastle Herald previously it was undertaking planning work and consultation to determine the scope and design of a future facility.
Plans for a new centre on land previously part of Morisset Hospital were announced in January, last year.
In August, Lake Macquarie MP Greg Piper said the hold-up was due to the process of transferring the land at Morisset from NSW Parks and Wildlife into the hands of the NSW Office of Sport.