Trail clarity

There have been a number of media reports regarding the development of a master plan for the proposed Spring Gully mountain bike trail network, which is within a section of the Bendigo Regional Park.

It is important to note that council has not adopted or accepted the master plan and is still determining whether this site is appropriate for mountain biking. 

Council released a draft master plan for public consultation last September and has undertaken a lengthy consultation process since that time with user groups of the regional park, as well as the Department of Environment, Land, Water and Planning and the relevant land manager, Parks Victoria.

All interested parties have been invited to submit a formal submission to the proposal.

A roundtable discussion was also held and any stakeholders with relevant, site-specific data have been invited to share it with the City of Greater Bendigo’s environmental consultants.

The development of the draft master plan included investigations around an environmental assessment and no net loss report, development of a cultural heritage management plan with heritage consultants and Dja Dja Wurrung representatives, and an economic impact sssessment, which showed a return over the first 10 years of $2.89 for every $1 invested into the proposed trail network.

Parks Victoria is the responsible land manager of the regional park, where the proposed Spring Gully Trail Network would be located and has confirmed mountain biking is an approved activity within the regional park.

The draft master plan specifies a 52-kilometre trail network consisting of:

• 9.91km of existing management vehicle track.

• 28.09km of existing mountain bike trail (which would require reconstruction in a sustainable manner where it was assessed as poorly constructed).

• 13.54km of proposed new mountain bike trail; and

• 1.45km of proposed existing mountain bike trails to be closed.

The draft master plan acknowledged the environmental impacts of poorly constructed trails already existing within the regional park and the risk of further erosion if trails were not rehabilitated or reconstructed in an environmentally sustainable manner, in line with the best practice standards specified by the International Mountain Bicycling Association.

Council is expected to consider the draft master plan and the feedback received throughout the consultation period at a formal council meeting before the end of the year.

Cr Margaret O’Rourke,

City of Greater Bendigo


Latest salvo

Weekly readers will be familiar with former councillor Helen Leach’s antagonism towards Labor MP Lisa Chesters.

The letter “Better off?” July 6, is Ms Leach’s latest salvo. Seems the Weekly’s “encouragement” to Ms Chesters to write the Opinion page inflamed this antagonism.

But Ms Leach expresses some predictable opinions herself, adhering to coalition spin – dire consequences for the tax system, employment, and energy costs under Labor.

“…their 45-50 per cent emissions reduction target which would give all Australians … higher power bills.” Ms Leach accepts uncritically this anti-renewables lobby scaremongering.

Has she noticed that energy costs have recently increased markedly, despite a relatively small renewables input?

The answer to energy costs is not burning more coal, but changing to sustainable fuels. The demise of fossil fuels is inevitable, the development of renewables is essential. Simple, really.

“The top 50 per cent of earners pay more than their fair share of tax now.” But earners do not fall neatly into Ms Leach’s percentage halves.

Is it cynical to suggest that the top one per cent of Australian incomes is greater than the total earnings of everyone else?

The rich end of town always does its darndest to pay as little tax as possible anyway. Fair share? Hardly.

“Many more Australians would be out of a job if Labor was to be elected.” So – no tax relief to businesses under Labor, therefore no extra employment, therefore increased unemployment, therefore Labor’s fault.

Really? So whose fault are current unemployment levels? And if businesses are so grateful for tax relief as to rush out and employ more people, why isn’t it happening now?

Given present moves to cut penalty rates for workers already in low paid positions, trickle-down beneficence seems unlikely.

Better off or worse off? Good question.

Julie Hopper,


Malls a dead strategy

While in Bendigo recently I read the articles on the mall precinct.

When the Hargreaves Mall was first considered malls across Australia were the rage, it was “chic” to have a mall.

They were happening everywhere; so Bendigo city, in its infinite wisdom, decided they should follow suit.

I can vividly recall the rationale at the time – “if we don’t have one we will be left behind”.

Malls in Australia have failed, and have cost millions of dollars; goodness knows how much has been invested in the Hargreaves mall through the years.  For what? – a gathering place for the socially displaced; a void of shopping options; long held businesses struggling with rents and lack of customers; an inconvenience for shoppers, given lack of parking

Kill traffic flow and you kill shopping; we all like convenience; we also like being where it is a busy hub.

All Bendigo city has to do is reinstate one-way traffic in both directions, re-allocate about 30 parking spots, for half-hour time limits, no fees to park. Get rid of any structure that becomes a place for undesirables to gather.

Simple really. Central Bendigo needs to be a central and vibrant hub.

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke, referring to the Myer site, is quoted: “I just think this would re-invigorate the city”. 

That’s what they said about the mall plans many years ago. It destroyed it.

Obviously the proposed project has value for the city – but surely not at the cost of the shopper. Open up the city for shopping more conveniently.

Malls are a dead strategy.

Leslie Roberts,



Unfair charges

Because I don’t own a car and cannot afford a taxi fare I have to order my grocery shopping online.

I order my groceries through Woolworths. I am outraged that since Woolworths has done away with plastic bags I now have to pay $1 per bag with my order.

The other option is paying $3.50 for the deliveryman to place the groceries on my bench (from the crate without a bag).

That’s too expensive and I think it’s per crate. I order more than one crate.

Whichever option I choose I am being ripped off. Companies such as Woolworths and Coles don’t give a stuff about the environment they just want to rip off the consumer and make a profit.

Charging for bags is another way to do it. I am all for saving the environment and believe we should do everything in our power to do so but ripping me off isn’t going to save it.

Why should I have to pay $1 per bag when in-store customers only have to pay 15 cents per bag? It seems unfair.

Angela Morrissey,



Still going strong

Bendigo should pay homage to the late Daryl McClure OAM, Stephen Carter, Keith Sutherland, Rick Dungey and others for their vision in establishing an alternative local newspaper back in 1997.

The reason the paper is still going strong some 21 years later is that it concentrates on local issues of interest to every day residents, and allows locals to have their say in an unfettered way.

I particularly like the fact the paper is prepared to stand up against the establishment, permit the airing of alternative views, and not lecture people on social issues.

Keep up the good work.

Michael McKenzie,