Gurri Wanyarra

A CFA volunteer should get precedence over a high achieving bank chief executive when it comes to naming places in Bendigo, argued two City of Greater Bendigo councillors.

They were considering a draft policy designed to take the ad hoc nature out of imposing monikers.

Another councillor commented on the habit of naming places and things after people who have passed away, a trend that Cr Matt Emond called funeralisation.

The council has created a policy which it hopes will standardise the process of naming buildings, places and amenities.

Its release for public comment follows the public furore but also clarifies the naming of the $31 million aquatic centre to be opened next month in Kangaroo Flat.

Councillors chose the indigenous name Gurri Wanyarra against a clear public expectation that the building would be named after the late Olympic swimmer Faith Leech who also taught swimming for many years.

After heavy criticism from the community that it was not listening, councillors voted to rename the Barnard Street pool where Ms Leech taught students, after her.

The draft naming report cites both examples as representative of appropriate names.

Crs Andrea Metcalf and Rod Fyffe went further and suggested they would prefer to see volunteers honoured in the community rather than those who do a job.

“For me personally, I am not of the opinion that if a person has been financially reimbursed for the work that they do, that the City of Greater Bendigo should then be recognising them for that work with a plaque in a public space,” Cr Metcalf said.

“I would much rather see a volunteer who did a job recognised because they were passionate about it and did it without any thought of recognition,” she said.

Cr Fyffe reiterated that volunteers should get priority.

“Maybe it is a volunteer who has been passionate certainly for a long, long while, not for a reward or anything like that but because they believed in it,” he said.

Cr Emond sits on the Greater Bendigo Heritage Advisory Comittee.

He said that the committee dealt with the process of naming places a lot, and there was a tendency in many instances to put forward the names of historic figures.

“Both of these committees have been dealing with the ad hoc approach to our naming of the city, and it concerns the funeralisation of our public space,” Cr Emond said.

“We do want to remember the contribution people made but it has to be made in a fair and sustainable and a timely way.”