Too little, too late
In response to Stephen Colbert letter, Bendigo Weekly, July 27:
Yes, parking meter fees are a penalty, but you must remember why they were first installed.
They were installed in the late 60s early 70s to stop retailers and their staff from parking all day in front of the shops, which left no parking for shoppers.
The fees then had to be continually increased to a level that would stop these same people from firstly, just feeding the meter, to then moving their car every two hours or so.
Since day one these fees have been a “pet hate” of shoppers.
The introduction of credit card parking is just a show of the times, as we continue to move into a cashless society.
The amount of income derived from parking meters would be a drop in the ocean in relation to the council’s total income.
Perhaps the council needs to consider what parking meters were first introduced for, and consider changing parking fee times to 8am to 10am and then again from 4pm to 6pm (at increased fees) to continue to deter retailers and staff from parking there, yet provide an amount of free parking for shoppers, which I am sure will bring back shoppers to the CBD.
If the council brings up the “user pays” scenario then they can add it to the shire rates of CBD retailers who caused this problem in the first place.
But this could be all too little too late as most shoppers are happy to go to Railway Place or Lansell Square and the like where you get free parking and all the shops you need in easy walking distance.
Make this happen
Can the City of Greater Bendigo get the museum up?
I’m sure many people are asking themselves the same question.
Another question could be “Does the council really want a museum?” Their form in recent years of backing the wrong horse (or not backing the right horse) is spectacular.
The Hargreaves Mall redevelopment and the dismal support to partner with the state and federal governments to secure Fortuna for the people are two examples.
Turning the Bendigo law courts into a museun is a no-brainer; location for a start; Bendigo is desperate for somewhere to display our vast history; visitors to Victoria’s third largest city expect a museum and the “Myer” hotel will be opposite.
The council must be proactive and seek support from all levels of government to make this happen and not just sit on their hands until it is sold off to private concerns.
Station plan parked
Outside of the old Kangaroo Flat goods shed at Kangaroo Flat Station is the following sign:
Connecting Regional Victoria – Kangaroo Flat Station Car Park Upgrade.
Also listed on this sign in small print is a completion date given as “by the end of June 2018”
However as of this date, July 31, no work has been undertaken.
The Minister of Transport Jacinta Allan announced this project several months ago with a press release and a photo shoot.
Why has work not commenced or are our two local members holding off this project to a date closer to the state election so that they can have a “Grand Opening”?
Meanwhile rail patrons suffer with a temporary gravel pit car park when the established car park is full.
In the late 1960s, when anti-Vietnam war sentiment was high, protest marches occurred in in cities and towns across Australia.
A politician’s motorcade met one of these protest groups in a capital city, and when asked what the motorcade should do, he replied “Run over the bastards!”
This story has been attributed to both NSW premier Robert Askin, and Victorian premier Henry Bolte, and possibly others as well.
Who made the comment probably doesn’t matter now, but the sentiment is still significant.
Remembering the story has made me wonder – are those who favour the return of through traffic to the mall foreseeing a time when this attitude to those who congregate there also returns?
Whatever else may be going on in their lives, at least the so-called “misfits” in the mall are not in danger (yet) of being driven over by anybody.
Lack of communication
It appears the state government and support from the federal government are going to proceed with the rail link to the airport.
The transport minister has stated that the line will use the existing line to Sunshine and branch off from there, and that Sunshine station will undergo a major revamp that will improve regional services to Geelong, Ballarat and Bendigo.
One hopes this will happen because services on the Bendigo through to Swan Hill and Echuca line commuters are not getting good services.
Train services will never improve until such time as the government and transport minister reinstate the double line between Bendigo and Southern Cross and complete the so-called designated line between Sunbury and Sunshine.
This was supposed to segregate regional from metropolitan services, but Bendigo services still share a line between Sunbury and Sunshine before the designated line takes effect.
All this money being spent and talking about improving regional services yet there doesn’t appear to be any talk on returning the passenger service to Mildura.
Our politicians spruik how good they are and what they are doing in improving public transport, but just think back 30 to 40 years ago we ran three services each way between Bendigo and Melbourne as well as some freight trains on double tracks, but now with all the so-called modern technology we are trying to run 20 services each way between Bendigo and Melbourne on a single track and the rare freight trains run after all passenger services during the night.
There were no speed restrictions either because gaps were installed to allow for track expansion during hot weather.
Governments employ high cost consultants and bureaucrats that have come out of universities with a piece of paper saying they are qualified to give advice and opinions on infrastructure without any practical experience or knowledge.
That’s why we have so many problems that costs the taxpayer big dollars, because authorities will not talk to people from the various industries that understand what goes on and what works and doesn’t work.
Who will care?
In 1835 a young Karl Marx wrote, “Our entire life is an unfortunate struggle between the intellectual and the physical principal.”
And so it is for the people living on Bendigo’s main streets of the CBD. They struggle while a smarmy, smug prime minister sits in his mansion with that big smirk on his face.
He doesn’t know what it is to struggle and be cast out of one’s home after being unable to pay the mortgage or the rent and keep up with the increasing price of bills and food.
It is a disgrace that we have homeless people living on our streets in Bendigo yet who is going to help them?
In Luke 10:25-37 Jesus tells an expert on the law about the Good Samaritan who looked after a man who’d been hurt and robbed on the street. He then took him to an inn and paid for his lodgings.
How many of us would be prepared to take in one of the homeless people on our streets? How many of us truly do love our neighbour?
Unfortunately, some institutions that care for people like the mentally ill have been shut down and now to get into the psychiatric ward at Bendigo Health there is a waiting list and people are thrown out after a week.
Many people on the street have a mental illness and cannot care for themselves.
Someone has to.
BHP – it’s our money
BHP’s disastrous foray into the shale oil business managed to squander between $US20 billion and $25 billion of our money. Mums and Dads in super funds have also paid the price.
Who has taken the rap and paid the penalty? No one to my knowledge. Accountability gone missing.
Any suggestion that shareholders should leave the $14 billion that wasn’t blown with the board and management for another “light bulb” moment would be outrageous.
Andrew Mackenzie, current BHP CEO, has got it right, “ return the net proceeds from the transactions to shareholders”. The sooner the better.