THE government jobs hub announced as part of this week’s state budget is an opportunity for a properly considered and inclusive solution to Bendigo’s ongoing CBD bus stop dramas and their impact upon nearby traders.

Where to locate – or more precisely, where to NOT locate the major bus stops, has been a subject of continuing frustration, anger and disappointment for traders, council and even bus users for several years.

A decision to place an upgraded bus stop and perspex shelter at the Mitchell Street end of the Hargreaves Mall some years ago has had the impact of a stink bomb on trade in the area for many.

The array of nearby vacant shops is testimony to the inappropriate solution thrust upon the community.

No matter where this facility is placed, trouble has always seemed to follow, but the time has come for it to be moved to a more appropriate location, and the GovHub – complete with up to 1000 office workers located in one purpose built complex on Lyttleton Terrace allows for a much needed and far broader rethink on public transport.

Buses need to run right past the front door of this proposed new building anyway – or very close to it.

If we are serious about activating space, about bringing more vibrancy into the heart of the city or about improving Hargreaves Mall, we must look at tackling all of these worthy aspirations as part of the same deal.

People enjoying the mall will help to better activate the space and ultimately this should mean there’s less space and opportunity for anti-social behaviour, and more space for people to enjoy.

Planning for this new building, which will be of a similar size to the Bendigo Bank headquarters, needs to consider the surrounding area and how to best incorporate transport of all types.

The GovHub also effectively helps create an even greater focal point of the mall – or as Jacinta Allan describes it, effectively this new development and the Bendigo Bank building, bookend the mall.

Throw in further expansion on the Bendigo TAFE site, which could also ultimately become home to a major new court complex, and this new rush of inner city development activity not only promises to bring thousands more people into town every day, it will also

highlight any inadequacies or imperfections in what we have to offer as well.

We should not have to settle for not quite good enough, and no one would argue that there are aspects within the CBD that are exactly that.

We owe it to traders to fix this situation, but we should not have to wait for a new building to start doing so.