Dragon boaters left out in the rain
I recently watched the Dragon Abreast crew paddling on Lake Weeroona.
When a storm hit they headed to shore and huddled under a peppercorn tree to try and keep dry.
I realised that they have no facilities – just an old shed to shelter near.
Dragons Abreast was established by the Bendigo Community Health Service to help women recovering from breast cancer.
They are doing it tough.
They deserve a better home, not left out in the cold.
What were they thinking?
We were “Blessed” with Bendigo Marketplace in 1995 and the consequences have manifested themselves ever since.
The demise of the CBD and the Hargreaves Mall in particular can be attributed directly to the then incumbent city council approving the Marketplace development.
What exactly were they thinking?
The only things most people know about council matters are what they find in the media, or in council publications.
It must be accurate.
Mayor Margaret O’Rourke claimed in a July 18 media statement about council being unsuccessful in its 16-year pursuit for a Marong Business Park: “The development of a business park is aimed at … supporting our very successful advanced manufacturing sector.”
On April 18 the mayor claimed, “Bendigo manufacturing is growing and contributes $2.25 billion into our economy”.
Other councillors chimed in, “Council had done its home-work and due diligence” (April 19), and, “The fake news that has been levelled in these important discussions is astounding” (April 20).
You judge these claims of “very successful”, “$2.25 billion“, “growing”, “due diligence” and “fake news” against council’s own inflation adjusted manufacturing data.
Manufacturing’s output in 2000/01 was $1.169 billion, in 2016/17 $1.168 billion. Value added in 2000/01 was $373 million, in 20016/17 $346 million. Full-time equivalent employment in 2000/01 – 3655, in 20016/17 – 3830.
So, over the 16 years council has been pursuing the Marong Business Park, manufacturing’s output and value-adding declined.
The odd thing is fewer employees in 2000/01, with less modern techniques and equipment, produced more output and added more value than those in 2016/17.
Maybe the planning for a business park is be based on uncertain assumptions.
The mayor and councillors work hard, but their claims are ill-informed, or delusional, or spin.
Greater Bendigo’s manufacturing is vital for our economy and community benefits; its planning cannot be left to amateurs.
New technologies and robotics are changing manufacturing.
Council must be more diligent with its research and report accurately, otherwise efforts are wasted, private investments diluted, council staff disappointed, industry employers and employees confused, rates squandered, and residents misinformed.
Happy to publicly debate these issues with councillors anytime.
Work has started
Congratulations to the Bendigo Weekly.
As a result of your paper printing my letter in the Weekly of August 3, work appears to have commenced on Tuesday on the Kangaroo Flat station car park upgrade.
However, the crew that arrived to begin work were a little late as they failed to stop some early travellers from parking in the area to be upgraded before this area was blocked off.
The public transport minister and local member Jacinta Allan must have been alerted to my letter and has been forced to cajole and demand her bureaucrats to immediately do something.
No doubt we will have a press release from Ms Allan later this week stating that work has commenced on the Kangaroo Flat station car park upgrade.
This does not change the fact that this work was to commence and be completed by the end of June 2018 or why no reason for the delay was given.
Dreaming the dream
Since the debate as to what is to become of the much maligned Hargreaves Mall surfaced again there has been much discussion and letters.
Reasons for spending more money range from claims that it is difficult to close streets for market activities, to nostalgia, a bit like moving the chairs on the Titanic and hoping the iceberg will go away.
One writer attempted to draw an analogy between the alleged statement attributed to a politician around 40 years ago to re-opening the mall to traffic.
I would remind that person that Bourke Street was a mall, but that did not stop people being mowed down and killed by someone, who had the inclination, determination and the means to do it.
Only one councillor seems prepared to address reality rather than wallowing in sentimentality and preparing to waste more ratepayer’s money in trying to resurrect an idea past its use by date.
Councillor Flack is suggesting a new start by opening up the street to one-way traffic.
Like many cities in the 1980s Bendigo became an experiment for the urban fashion statement of the time, every city had to have mall with little planning and no business case.
As a result, many failed to deliver on the benefits both economic and social, people were promised, despite revamps costing millions of dollars Hargreaves Mall still fails to make the grade.
City pedestrian shopping malls have morphed today into suburban air-conditioned shopping centres complete with pedestrian walkways and ample parking.
Some people seem unable to accept/admit failure/defeat, is it because they have ready access to other people’s money that they just carry on dreaming the dream?
A report 11 years ago stated pedestrian malls that had been re-opened to traffic not only registered a drop in crime but became vibrant areas with cafes and restaurants using wider footpaths for al fresco dining.
Sadly in we seem to be dealing with a situation where rejuvenation of the city centre is being delayed
by those who refuse to recognise that the mall and the idea behind it are dead.
One size does not fit all
IN your story “Business leads push for more welders“ (Bendigo Weekly, August 3) I read with interest as it reminds me of a parent teacher evening some years ago.
I was sitting with a few of my colleagues talking to parents.
A mother and son came in the room and pointed at one of my colleagues and she said “ We don’t need to see him as he only teaches metal.”
With this and quite annoyed my colleague called the parent back.
He said “madam I am a trade teacher and have taught some very talented kids who are now working in the metal industry.”
He also quoted that if we took a 100,000 bachelor of arts out of the country no one would know they were gone.
If we took a 100,000 tradies out of the country it would have a great impact on industry.
As a teacher for more than 40 years I can assure you that one size in education does not fit all.
There are many successful young people out there without an ATAR score doing the hands on jobs with pride and passion.
I AM sure many people are becoming increasingly concerned about the accumulation of rubbish and waste around the world and have been enjoying the War on Waste series on television.
In the last program they touched on the subject of plastic water bottles and queried why people buy bottled water instead of using our perfectly adequate tap water.
As one who always carries water from home, my major complaint is always where can I refill my bottle when I’m out and about?
I see that the Melbourne City Council has now provided an online map showing water filling spots around their city, but what about here in Bendigo?
We need drinking fountains/water filling stations around town as well as in the shopping centres and precincts. Bendigo council and Coliban Water should be taking the lead in establishing these as a