A change of culture

Thank you for the editorial under the title “Peace at all costs” (Bendigo Weekly, April 27). You rightly emphasise “… how important sustainable peace really is.
The enormous wasteful cost of war in human lives lost and scarred, in misspent resources and the destruction of the earth, is beyond description.
It is not enough however, to wistfully hope for peace and a better solution to human conflict and aggression.
Peace does not just happen. Peace requires deep conviction, commitment and a change of culture.
War is in our mindset as a nation as the way to address conflict and aggression. But aggression begets aggression. Violence generates violence. How foolish to imagine that fighting an aggressor will result in sustainable peace.
It seems to me, politicians send our youth to conflicts around the world for political reasons.
If political leaders were as committed to finding peaceful solutions, to solve the injustices at the root cause of conflict, to listen to grievances, to seek a fair and just world for everyone, sustainable peace may have some prospect.
Our society is structured for war under the guise of defence. We are committed to the manufacture of weapons of destruction and their sale around the globe. Our defence budget is sacrosanct. We are arming ourselves – for war?
Our memorials and symbols of nationhood which we venerate so solemnly are to do with war and we don’t flinch at enormous expenditure to extend and build more.
Of course we must honour the sacrifice of young men and women who have given their lives in military service.
They have paid an enormous price for our warlikeness.
But perhaps a change of culture could begin with equal emphasis and veneration paid to those who work for peace and justice and the wellbeing of the poor and weakest in the world.
Our children trained to deal creatively with conflict and to honour peace-makers may begin a cultural change as they come to adulthood.

David U’Ren,
Jackass Flat

 

Industrial v productive land?

The proposed Industrial Park on the Carter’s land at Marong certainly poses a serious dilemma for the City of Greater Bendigo council and now the Victorian government.
But rarely has the importance of the potential of this productive agricultural land rated a mention in the media.
Sure, the Carter’s property is not true prime agricultural land, but it is versatile land which could regularly produce productive crops and pastures for stock.
Surely there is less productive land available for the industrial park close to a highway and rail transport links?
As an ex-soil conservationist, I have on several occasions brought to council’s attention the urgent need to draw a very solid line around Bendigo’s urban area, to ensure the long-term protection of cropland, so vital for Bendigo’s and Australia’s future if we are to help feed a hungry world.
This means that such a line should pass just to the immediate west of Marong in an arc west of the Shelbourne forest towards
Baringhup.
This line should then extend north to Raywood, then east past the northern boundary of the Whipstick Forest towards Elmore and south to take in the productive Campaspe valley lands to Lake
Eppalock.
To the east and south of Lake Eppalock land suitable for regular cropping is very limited.
I have also drawn council’s attention for the urgent need to strictly limit subdivision of our productive, versatile croplands.
If our townsfolk seek “alternative lifestyle” cum “hobby farm” blocks, there is much choice available on our sedimentary-sandstone and granitic landscapes south of Bendigo or in nearby
municipalities.

David H Elvery,
Flora Hill

 

Mall a disaster

The Bendigo mall is slowly dying, after all they many years of spending money on improving it; it has been a disaster.
Open courtyard subject to the climate, toilets in the open, stupid murals, kids playground, a bus shelter on the wrong side, a public seat no one sits on, bus stops right outside traders’ shops, unruly behaviour is commonplace, parking meters all around the mall – no wonder business is closing down because people generally won’t shop in an uncomfortable environment.
The Marketplace is a perfect example of not having any of these restrictions.
This may be pie in the sky stuff and cost-restrictive but free up all parking around the mall precinct, cover in the courtyard area, place food stalls down the middle with plenty of seating and air conditioning (a comfortable place to shop).
As far as the buses are concerned close off Hargreaves Street from Mitchell Street to Edward Street to traffic and have a bus terminal strip down the middle with very little disruption to local business.
Otherwise just open Hargreaves Mall to traffic again with bus stops spread out around it, not jammed on top of each other.

T Marsh,
Kangaroo Flat

 

A great asset

The recent opening of the BBG Garden for the Future is a wonderful achievement by the City of Greater Bendigo, providing a great asset to the region and its rapidly expanding population.
This outstanding first phase of the 2009 Master Plan for a contemporary extension to the Bendigo Botanic Gardens at White Hills, is a credit to all those involved.
Although it has been a long time coming, the Friends of Bendigo Botanic Gardens members appreciate all the work that has gone into achieving this outcome.
From 1991 when the council first acquired the land over Hamelin Street for a botanic gardens extension there have been various proposals drawn up.
These included the Gerner Master Plan 1993; TBA Landscape Study 1998; Lee Andrews Heritage Study and Strategy 2007 and the CoGB Draft Master Plan in 2009.
In 2012 council appointed a development officer and funding sources were sought for the first phase of the master plan (the Garden for the Future) to be
implemented.
A design was selected, plans put on display, drainage and water supply issues resolved before ground works finally began in 2017.
A special thanks go to the three regular BBG garden staff members, who put in so many extra hours, and other gardeners from the parks and open space team who worked with them to accomplish all the planting and other works in time for the opening (the unsung heroes doing the hard work on the ground).

Judy Milner,
Friends of Bendigo Botanic Gardens

 

A waste of your money

What’s the connection between waste disposal and council waste?
The answer according to a major metropolitan newspaper editorial is: “Local councils often excel at finding foolish ways to fritter away vast sums of ratepayers’ money.
Time and again, local government leaders allow costly non-core ideas and crusades that deliver no tangible benefit for residents to steal resources away from basic council functions.
Yet faced with budget pressures as a recycling crisis grips Australia, the first impulse of local bureaucrats is not to trim spending on such indulgences and follies.
Instead, councils across Victoria are resorting to slugging ratepayers with exorbitant charges to cover the unexpected increase in waste disposal costs” (Herald Sun, May 1).
I could not put it more
succinctly.
The City of Greater Bendigo recycling charge will increase by $25 per property (council budget p2).
With near 49,000 assessments (budget p30) council will slug ratepayers near $1.2 million extra rather than “trim spending”.
Readers will know which “costly non-core ideas and crusades that deliver no tangible benefit for residents” could be trimmed by council.
Residents use their own money more wisely than council.
So, it is unacceptable that ratepayers, particularly the less well-off, should be asked to shoulder the burden of extra costs when savings can be made.
I hope mayor Margaret O’Rourke, guided by council CEO Craig Niemann, will recommend to councillors to drop the $25 increase, find $1.2m of savings, and amend the budget accordingly.

Michael McKenzie,
Bendigo