Roundabout riddle

It never ceases to amaze me how our council manages to fritter away our money.

Take the new roundabouts at the corners of Queen and Edward streets and Hargreaves and Edward streets, and the one that has taken forever to complete in Lyttleton Terrace.

This must be a council project as a private contractor would have done it in a fraction of the time.

All up my guess would be that more than $1m has been blown, and for what tangible benefit? Who initiated the projects? My best bet would be another officer-driven smart idea.

Why? I presume it is part of the strategy to slow traffic as part of the new 40 kilometre an hour zone in the central CBD.

With the ever increasing traffic on congested roads getting about at 40km/h down town would be difficult anyway.

What problem did they address and where is the evidence supporting their need?

To my knowledge I can’t recall many incidents over the years of pedestrians, cyclists and motor vehicles colliding in the CBD.

Don’t tell me it is for the benefit of the one per cent of people who ride bicycles.

With the 40km/h zone signs clearly visible on the roadways isn’t a case of plain law enforcement without plundering our money on officer thought bubbles?

Councillors, it is your job to tell the officers to keep their hands out of our pockets.

Robert Smallpage,
Huntly

Retain our independence

I couldn’t believe my eyes when I recently read about the GovHub.

For those of us with memories going back the last decades I’m seeing/hearing the reinventing of the wheel. Except in a more complex, worrying way.

I have only just become aware of the GovHub concept.

Maybe it has been on the agenda for a while but I have been otherwise preoccupied with a very ill husband and have to admit to not knowing the ins and outs of the concept – but I do know one thing.

Governments change – so do their priorities. Governments are fickle.

Previous policies/decisions are thrown out if an opposing government comes in.

The new government will want to place their own stamp and jettison the previous.

Of course it all sounds so wonderful re cost sharing – but in reality that will not be the way it pans out.

Just take a look at all the buildings built in the last decades for government offices with the promise of newly housed regional offices. Regional staff thrown from pillar to post.

Those new offices relocated and vacated over time and now housing other businesses, often thrown back onto local government to try and find new tenants.

Of course it is essential that as a council they must always work amicably and sensibly with all governments as we have done very well in the past.

Councillors represent ratepayers and that can at times be in conflict with government decisions.

So it’s very important to retain the capacity to remain independent.

Also, does council really want to be involved in future real estate hassles?

The present council building in Lyttleton Terrace is regarded as an architectural example of its time, not many buildings of that period survive in our area.

It was always designed to take an extra two storeys, which was planned, as was extending over the rear carpark.

This would have given council all the space required, and leave a unique building and its site as a special place in local government and for the Bendigo region.

It is still a very viable plan and council should reconsider the plans that were made well over a decade ago.

I will just ask all councillors to remember one thing – you are there for the ratepayers of our municipality and it is highly important to remain independent from government influence.

Willi Carney,

former local government
councillor

Forest management vital

Helen Leach stated that Daniel Andrews’ refusal to sign the forestry plan is affecting the mental health of timber workers.

Based on recent timber harvesting decisions/practices in Victoria, the mental health of far greater number of Victorians now and into the future will be affected.

A combination of habitat loss for native flora and fauna, some which is threatened or endangered; loss of ability for water catchments to deliver sufficient water supplies; reduction of beautiful natural recreation areas for residents and visitors will place so many hundreds of thousands of peoples’ mental health at risk.

Only about 19 per cent of Victoria is covered by native forest (1990 official figures) and decreasing annually, so without proper forest management, such as planting more native timber plantations, it can only get worse.

My apologies if this now makes you feel depressed.

Stuart Symonds,
Bendigo

One hand clapping

You can’t help but wonder what has become of this country when government  has grown so vast and pervasive that politicians now need a monumental GovHub to warehouse their knuckle-dragging inefficient departments, staffed by a thousand public servants.

All the marvellous reasons given to justify this erection cannot be denied. They have been tried and tested with great success in socialist and people’s republics for decades.

Corporate mergers and relocations attract redundancies and resignations. Job vacancies can easily be filled by our newest citizens and visa holders who mostly make up the public service workforce.

Endowed with qualifications and probing security checks performed by higher powers, they remain anxiously grateful for their legal status and are dependable.

Bendigo council’s new best friends (the developers, merchants and investors, soon to alight from Qantas Sydney flights) are no doubt thrilled at the potential ease of access to Australian government departments.

The applause that greets the GovHub flightpath scheme sounds like one hand clapping.

Sally Anne Pethebridge,

Bendigo

Mental health benefit

Readers of this letters page will realise by now that grandmother and former councillor Helen Leach uses every possible opportunity to make her feelings about Daniel Andrews abundantly clear.

She begins her letter (Consider workers, Bendigo Weekly, March 1) by saying “Can you believe this man?” Seems that this letter is all about what Ms Leach believes, and about what she assumes are the premier’s motives.

For example, the blame for every issue she is in some way passionate about can be sheeted home to the premier, or to Lisa Chesters, and hence to every other member of the despised ALP both state and federal. Her responses seem to follow a pattern – it is all nonsense, no more than a gender-bending greenie conspiracy hatched by the Labor party and their cronies on the left and in the unions. Her current offering is therefore predictable.

Since we all know, don’t we, that global warming is one of these conspiracies, then timber workers should be encouraged to go on cutting down trees for the sake of their mental health.

National Parks are simply an indulgence aimed at keeping those workers out of a job. Really? But if Daniel Andrews is just a crony of the unions, how does it follow that he would deliberately act against timber workers?

Trees are a finite resource, and fewer trees means less oxygen in the atmosphere and more carbon dioxide, a known factor in the global warming that Ms Leach believes does not exist.

So I wonder – what kind of world does she want to bequeath to her grandchildren?

Could we not see the possibility here of timber workers and others being employed as park rangers and conservators, caring for the parks rather than chopping them down?

Surely a world in which we can treat the environment as an asset rather than as a resource to be exploited is one in which the mental health of everybody would benefit.

Julie Hopper,
Bendigo