Canberrans told: ‘Don’t worry about the bogans, we want you here!’

Kim Treasure 23 December 2020 26
Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce president Mathew Hatcher.

Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce president Mathew Hatcher. Photo: Supplied.

Batemans Bay businesses are putting out the welcome mat for COVID-19-safe visitors this year, decrying the negativity and antipathy being doled out to Canberrans on some social media posts.

Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce president Mathew Hatcher has moved to reassure tourists they will be warmly welcomed in the Eurobodalla Shire, saying the keyboard warriors are not representative of the wider community.

“It’s just that very small minority who are very loud on social media,” he said. “We can’t wait for people to get down here.”

Mr Hatcher acknowledged there had been mixed messages from the town, with Canberrans urged to visit and support the local economy after the bushfires, then told to stay away as COVID-19 hit and concerns about the South Coast health service’s ability to cope arose.

“We have an ageing community and people were scared,” he said. “But most people have an understanding of just how important Canberra is to us.

“[In the lead up to Christmas], numbers have been outstanding this year. Most people in hospitality are doing all-time record numbers.

“We are ready, open for business and can’t wait to welcome people here.”

Eurobodalla Shire Council Mayor Liz Innes added her support.

“It’s disappointing to see social media can be such a negative place after the tough year we’ve all endured,” she said. “We value our Canberra visitors, just as they value our beautiful place.

“While social media can be very shouty, I do believe the vast majority of Canberra visitors and Eurobodalla locals respect one another and enjoy the summer vibes we create together.”

In fact, the Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce has taken a proactive approach to bring more Christmas spirit to the town this year.

“We haven’t always done a good job of being festive,” said Mr Hatcher. “There’s been a bit of an attitude of, ‘They are going to come anyway, we don’t need to do anything.’

“This year we want to make sure we have the town looking alive for Christmas.”

Rebecca Mahon, Marieke Janssen and Mathew Hatcher in front of Christmas tree.

From left: Rebecca Mahon, secretary, Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce; Marieke Janssen from Love the Bay BB; and Mathew Hatcher, president, Batemans Bay Chamber of Commerce. Photo: Supplied.

Part of that has been decorating 15 trees along Murra Murra Mia Walk with fairy lights, putting up a seven-metre Christmas tree and coordinating Light Up the Bay, a VIVID-style New Year’s event.

“It’s been very, very hard to get approvals but it’s a celebration to say thanks to emergency services and lighten the mood,” said Mr Hatcher.

Corrigans Cove Resort Batemans Bay operator Andrew Johns said before the recent Sydney Northern Beaches COVID-19 cluster, Christmas trading was looking exceptionally strong.

He said many people were returning visitors, but disruption to domestic and international travel meant some were trying the NSW South Coast region for the first time.

“We are conscious that a chunk of the market is new customers who, in the past, haven’t visited the South Coast,” said Mr Johns.

“This will give us the opportunity to grow the business … it’s an opportunity to build sales and employ more local staff moving forward into 2021-2022.

“It’s critical for all tour operators in the region to offer extended trading hours, high-class service and quality products.”

Patrick Butt moderates a number of South Coast Facebook community pages and said he’s been trying to filter out the hateful comments.

“I do battle all day long with the bogans,” he said. “Canberra people are most welcome down here. Most residents at Batemans Bay come from Canberra to retire.

“So don’t worry about the bogans – businesses want you guys and are gearing up to cater for visitors.

“Please let everyone know the Bay is their holiday place. We love them.”

Meanwhile, Eurobodalla Shire Council has scheduled radio advertisements during summer and installed signage at local beaches, parks and playgrounds reminding visitors and residents to stay 1.5m apart and to practice good hand and respiratory hygiene.

The radio ads also remind people to check they’re not overcrowding shops and cafes before entering.

NSW Health and NSW Police will be enforcing COVID-19-safe rules in Eurobodalla.

Original Article published by Kim Treasure on About Regional.


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26 Responses to Canberrans told: ‘Don’t worry about the bogans, we want you here!’
Nick Anderson Nick Anderson 12:14 pm 26 Dec 20

Am I living under a rock or something? I’ve been coming down to the bay for the past 10 years almost every month and not once have i ever had issues like the ones in the comments before. No issue with my ACT Plates, no damage to my car, no verbal abuse, no confrontations, always seeing smiles from locals etc.

If this is the attitude adopted by some locals, then I’m in for a real shock. Are we talking town or the greater BB area?

Brendan Scott Brendan Scott 7:53 am 25 Dec 20

The new monument to Cthulhu in this photo will attract many visitors from the inner north.

Russell Nankervis Russell Nankervis 9:33 pm 24 Dec 20

What are the bogans saying?

As long as people are doing their best to avoid catching or spreading COVID-19 then I see no qualms

Rastislav Zrelak Rastislav Zrelak 9:04 pm 24 Dec 20

It is one nation, put Hate on side, we have to help each other

Kristine Barker Kristine Barker 4:10 pm 24 Dec 20

Ian Thompson and Peta Thompson you better move, the bogans are taking over 😂😂😂😂

Lesley Taylor Lesley Taylor 3:35 pm 24 Dec 20

I don't think BB needs to worry. We drove up to Canberra today along with about 20 other cars. But there was car after car after car after car driving DOWN!

Eve Cullen Eve Cullen 3:11 pm 24 Dec 20

Be there soon

Corey Karl Corey Karl 1:51 pm 24 Dec 20

Canberrans whinging again ??? Clearly the coast residences didn’t read the smashing they got from a minority of ACT locals complaining about them using their health services during the height of the pandemic lol....

    Darren Goodwin Darren Goodwin 3:42 pm 24 Dec 20

    Corey Karl and we should rightfully complain, what do we get in return a few crusty beaches infested with seaweed and blue bottles

    Corey Karl Corey Karl 3:45 pm 24 Dec 20

    Darren Goodwin you can always drive a few hours further north and share the beach with the rest of Sydney lol

    Darren Goodwin Darren Goodwin 3:51 pm 24 Dec 20

    Corey Karl never seem a blue bottle there, I think they are allergic to viruses ha ha

Natalee Gersbach Natalee Gersbach 12:40 pm 24 Dec 20

They don't really want us there, they just want our money.

I'll be finding other places to holiday for a while after all their come here, no, why the eff did you come here anyway, hate, hate, hate, p*ss off. Then come back we miss you, no, eff off we don't want you here. This was even before Covid hit. Followed by more eff offs since then, and even just a few days ago.

You're going to have to rebuild that bridge you burnt down. In the mean time rural locations can benefit from my $$$

    Andrew Dale Andrew Dale 12:49 pm 24 Dec 20

    Natalee Gersbach that's it. You go ahead and blame the majority for the stupidity of the minority

    Natalee Gersbach Natalee Gersbach 12:51 pm 24 Dec 20

    Andrew Dale Given that's all I saw from anyone commenting, except businesses, then I'm feeling pretty solid on my foundations there. Thanks.

    Natalee Gersbach Natalee Gersbach 12:57 pm 24 Dec 20

    Andrew Dale And you know what else - free choice - I can spend my money where I want. Friendlier places that haven't told us to eff off.

    Especially when the south coast has posed much more of a risk to us than we did to them, even still.

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 1:09 pm 24 Dec 20

    Natalee Gersbach It was also the extremity of the examples of hateful comments directed at Canberrans that was concerning. Even if it comes from a minority that still makes it kinda scary. There were reports of Canberrans being spat at and having their cars vandalised in Batemans last summer.

    Instead of a campaign to try persuade us to go there maybe they should launch a campaign to change the minds of those people who seem to hate us first?

    Ed N Joanne Towner Ed N Joanne Towner 1:44 pm 24 Dec 20

    Lin Van Oevelen the actions of some spoil it. Humans aren't nice beings sometimes.

    Natalee Gersbach Natalee Gersbach 1:44 pm 24 Dec 20

    Lin Van Oevelen You're right, it wasn't just the comments but the truly hate filled and violent nature of them.

    In the mean time, other locations that have also been doing it tough will benefit from my tourism. Loads of other places in need and we get to find new places to explore.

    Lin Van Oevelen Lin Van Oevelen 2:20 pm 24 Dec 20

    Natalee Gersbach I must admit that Batemans was always just a place to drive through for me anyway though. Haven't stopped there for years and years. So this doesn't really affect me personally.

    Laurita Jones Laurita Jones 2:29 pm 24 Dec 20

    Natalee Gersbach did you hear the town and area was devastated by fires? I think you are being a little harsh

    Natalee Gersbach Natalee Gersbach 2:38 pm 24 Dec 20

    Laurita Jones Of course I heard, and I also remember all the vitriol aimed at Canberrans around that time, telling us to come down, that it was safe and fine and we were missed. I also remember how the fires flared up and we were yelled at to get the hell out of there and we had no place being there in the first place and why the F did we go when fires were happening - somehow forgetting all the calls from people down the south coast saying it was safe and to come down. There's a lot I remember.

    I was willing to let it all go and went down to support once the fires went away, but then it got nasty from them again and eff that I say. I can choose where to go and where to spend my money thanks very much. And so can you. Good luck.

    Lexie Donald Lexie Donald 2:58 pm 24 Dec 20

    Lin we has our car vandalised down at Batemans cos of Canberra plates and FK off its our beach from the locals 8 yrs ago

    Haven't spent any $ there since. And yobbo teens wouldn't think that way if parents n teachers didn't think it was ok

    Nell Feneck Nell Feneck 7:35 am 25 Dec 20

    Natalee Gersbach bye Felicia 🤦🏽‍♀️

    Tenille Evans Tenille Evans 8:04 pm 25 Dec 20

    Nell Feneck what does that even mean? It's ok to be vandalised, abused? They want the money but not the people? Ive not experienced it personally but id like to know the meaning of your comment

    Nell Feneck Nell Feneck 10:23 pm 25 Dec 20

    Tenille Evans people at the coast are stressed - they are probably acting a bit out of character and I don’t think we should take there responses personally

Startmeup Startmeup 10:50 am 24 Dec 20

My family has had a long association with the South Coast and I have only met one genuine bogan over my 50 years going to the coast. As a kid he hit me twice to confirm my opinion. However, over that time I have witnessed the growth and change from Narooma, the Bay and up to Ulladulla where my parents had a holiday home when I was a teenager. I recall sleepy unrushed towns that were closed on Sundays. Weather board houses. Traffic, no problem, unlike today where trying to cross the Princess Highway in Ulladulla (in a car let alone walking) require bravery and luck. That’s after the long hours in bumper to bumper traffic to get there in the first place. If I were a resident of the South Coast I would bemoan that “progress” being championed by I assume local businesses. I understand they are driving the local economy and I understand that tourist demand creates the blocks and blocks of flats and units, and I get there are bogans like the ones that left a message on a mates ACT plated car to F-off to where he belonged. But like a few locals I imagine, I also remember those sleepy villages where progress hadn’t really arrived yet. Are they bogans or perhaps understandably passionate about losing their identity and town centres as an Easter, Christmas, School holiday stomping ground of Canberra.

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