Letter to the editor

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 11-Aug-2017

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Flood Eye software glitch

The minor issue presented in last Friday’s Bendigo Weekly is between the data, and our Flood Eye software. 

In a nutshell, for reports other than the one in 100-year (or one per cent annual exceedance probability) flood levels, there was a small percentage of properties where the data was not talking properly with Flood Eye. 

It is a software issue and not an issue with the flood data itself. The one in 100 year level is what council has used to inform its proposed planning scheme changes.

As a precaution, while we work on a fix, we have taken the affected lines out of the data tables for Bendigo in Flood Eye and are in the process of manually cross checking them, as we did with the one in 100 year data.

As Flood Eye reminds the community, anyone with any concerns whatsoever with the levels presented to them, can contact us, and we can run through all of the data for their property with them. 

There is no reason anyone in Bendigo should not be armed with the best information available, information they can use to understand the flood risk to their properties and to give their insurance companies. 

If anyone has a premium they believe is outrageous, we are more than happy to work with them to give them all the information they need for their property, which they can then present to their insurance company.

The community can have confidence in the data collected as part of the Bendigo Urban Flood Study. 

Bendigo residents can be assured they now have access to information that is far better than anything that has previously been produced, and to a standard recognised around the world. 

Our first priority has been to provide this information to the public, to give them the most up-to-date and sophisticated data available. 

Flood Eye is a great tool to get the information to the public quickly and efficiently. If you need more detailed data, or want to discuss your Flood Eye report, contact us on 5448 1896.

Brad Drust,CEO,

North Central CMA

Times are changing

Robert K Smallpage’s pompously condescending advice to Mayor O’Rourke and Cr Wrigglesworth (Bendigo Weekly, Letters, August 4) provided me with much amusement, albeit along the lines of having to laugh rather than cry. 

His declaration that “just because you hold a position of authority within the council does not automatically grant you respect” is particularly hilarious, so obliviously ironic, confirming in a few words the veracity of the mayor and councillor’s claims of boorishly unfair treatment.

Mayor O’Rourke and councillors Wrigglesworth and Alden, in having the courage to call out gender-based disrespect and abuse in public office are drawing attention to the well-documented pernicious and persistent attitudes in society which contribute to the shameful rates of male violence against women and children, and in doing so are fulfilling an important civic obligation in their capacity as community leaders.

No doubt this makes those who prefer the status quo of out-dated male privilege very uncomfortable. This is unfortunate, but the times they are a changing, and, through the leadership of men and women of integrity and courage, for the better.

Michelle Goldsmith,

Eaglehawk

Recycling scandal

A recent Four Corners report has lifted the lid on the truth and the facts on recycling. They have shown that more than 50 per cent of everything ends up straight in landfill and this has been the case for years

The report shows that since 2015 glass and other recyclables are not being accepted due to cheap imports and mounting costs and it’s now cheaper just to dump into landfill.

So now the truth is out there and has been for a long time, so why is the City of Greater Bendigo council continuing to misrepresent the facts on recycling and waste millions of ratepayers’ money on a fallacy? 

Council’s own ratepayer funded ads claim that the green organic bin has collected more than 150 tonnes in almost 12 months and that is supposed to show success. 

With around 20,000 bins out there it equates to less than one kilogram per bin per month or less than one small bag. This means the average cost for a green bin has been around $10 to take away one kilogram.

There is no doubt that the previous councillors and the current one along with the CEO and some executives were either extremely complacent with the facts or indeed have mislead the community on the benefits and costs of recycling.

The question remains, was this really an attempt to reduce landfill or was it exactly what we have always stated as a grab for more ratepayers’ cash?

Stuart Symes,

Epsom

Best equipped to lead?

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke stated councillors undertook a performance review of CEO Craig Niemann and the results were “very good” (Bendigo Weekly, August 4).

Well those results are in marked contrast to community opinion expressed in the latest Community Satisfaction Survey. 

Council’s overall performance score was a meagre 56 (out of index score of 100), sitting behind the state-wide average of 59.

A fair part of this low rating can be attributed to the CEO’s performance.

You might think the CEO would promptly address that, and previous poor survey scores; learn, and take remedial action. But I cannot find any public report or positive proposals to improve performance by Mr Niemann to council. Mr Niemann said, he “hopes to see a continual improvement over the coming years”. Hope?

Remember in 2013, Mr Niemann strongly opposed the independent review that resulted in $11 million in savings and efficiencies, with better outcomes and ongoing annual savings.

He then threw away further opportunities. A number of residents offered detailed submissions calling for a streamlined council management structure, particularly City Futures directorate. 

An independent review recommendation backed those ideas. But Craig convinced the then council everything was OK.

Had he acted promptly millions more ratepayer dollars could have been saved. He delayed his partial structure reform until forced to with rate capping and when directors resigned.

The CEO has also presided over a high level of rates, services, staff costs, and a massive tourism spend that clearly fails any careful cost-benefit analysis.

Special interest groups dominate; ratepayers have rarely been consulted on whether they want additional services. 

Residents might have preferred lower rates than 50 per cent compound increases, over Mr Niemann’s nine-year reign, prior to rate capping. His advice to councillors in the same period ignored most people who had income increases tied to the 22 per cent CPI movement.

Mr Niemann is a decent and personable fellow; It is not a question of personality, but who is best equipped to lead our city into the future. Greater Bendigo deserves the best.

Michael McKenzie,

Strathdale

No problems recycling

I can’t believe (council’s Craig Lloyd) thinks a lack of understanding is behind the recyclables issue. 

It’s Saturday afternoon and as I write this email our recycling bin is already full and won’t be picked up until Wednesday morning... where does the all the recycling go now?

I could see if the neighbours have room in their bin... oh no wait, they also understand the very simple task of recycling as 99 per cent of the population do. 

Yes, let’s do recycling weekly and general waste fortnightly. Pardon my ignorance but that seems like an easy thing to do. 

Also if recyclables are a valuable resource let’s process and use the stuff locally, maybe create more work/jobs locally to. 

Name and address supplied

Share your story

From the moment I first watched the UK’s This Girl Can ad featuring real women getting active without inhibitions I felt completely inspired.

Seeing real women of all different shapes, sizes and colours jiggle, sweat and move was a refreshing and much needed change to how women are represented on our TV screens.

This Girl Can is all about empowering women to overcome the fear of judgement holding them back from being active. 

Now This Girl Can is coming to Australia and we want Victorian women to be a part of the campaign.

We are looking for women of all shapes and sizes, all abilities, taking on all kinds of physical activity. 

By sharing their story, Victorian women have the chance to inspire others to become more physically active. We’re calling for Victorian women to share their story with the chance to feature in the TV ads airing in early 2018. 

Women can submit their stories at www.thisgirlcan.com.au or by visiting the mobile story pod which will be touring Victoria over the remainder of 2017.

Jerril Rechter,

CEO, VicHealth 

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