CBD may not be right

Congratulations to Don
Erskine and Trevor Phillips in the Bendigo Weekly, May 10 for “Dreaming big” and advocating a polycentric planning model for Greater Bendigo’s development.

Don and Trevor are calling for a visionary and dramatic rethink of Greater Bendigo’s planning and
development policies.

They suggest independent self-contained suburbs similar to Canberra could be developed at Maiden Gully, Strathfieldsaye and Marong, with further expansion north of Huntly to be discouraged because of perceived concerns about flooding and inadequate transport infrastructure.

They also believe a network of employment fields could eventually be established in other areas including Ravenswood, Eaglehawk and Strathfieldsaye.

Contrast their long-term vision to council’s CBD dependent centric model.

Their challenging farsightedness should be seen as a major rebuff
to Greater Bendigo council’s
in-principle decision to build a
bureaucratic co-location GovHub monolith in the CBD on the Lyttleton Terrace site of council’s municipal offices. A project without community understanding or approval.

Council touts this costly flawed GovHub will rejuvenate the CBD. Yet all it is doing is moving hundreds of existing government jobs from the Bendigo suburbs into the CBD, destroying suburban businesses and lifestyle.

Focussing on the CBD brings about greater parking woes and more gridlock on the roads at peak times, while council and government decisions suck economic life out of the suburbs and small towns that should be equal partners in the life of our city.

Because of the secrecy wrapped around GovHub by most councillors and CEO Craig Niemann, we do not know what other sites across Greater Bendigo were even considered for the project.

A simple audit of Crown land – property owned by the state government sitting idle and returning no income – would reveal many sites in suburbs identified by Mr Erskine and Mr Phillips with the potential and capacity to accommodate a new government structure.

Mr Phillips has said that present day planning policy for urban growth is based on a centralist model that promotes the CBD and incremental growth around the existing urban zones.

The silo styled 1000 desk GovHub location decision is badly flawed. Councillors must think of a polycentric decentralised service future.

Max Turner,


Road to the future

With reference to the front page article, Bendigo Weekly, May 10, regarding Bendigo’s road system, I wish to add some historic notes and urge Bendigo residents to demand attention from council and the state government to ensure that, in 2070, we are not
demolishing houses, shops and factories to build the roads we can plan, and reserve the space for today . 

In 1970, the then-Country Roads Board contracted consultants to produce, in consultation with local councils, a major road plan for Bendigo based on predicted traffic conditions in 1990.

That plan did guide the development of highway and arterial road development, but it was incomplete when 1990 dawned. 

In 1990, VicRoads had just been created and a review of the 1970 plan was undertaken using predicted traffic in the year 2020.

Essentially, this study recommended finishing all the initiatives of the 1970 plan and investigation of an arterial road connection between Strathfieldsaye and the Calder Highway at Big Hill.

VicRoads, in 1997, produced a draft plan for the connection but it was not supported by the former Shire of Strathfieldsaye. 

In 2003, VicRoads agreed to
finance a study to address major road congestion on the main North/South highway link through Bendigo.

The resulting plan was bold and had some sound recommendations, but impacted significantly in Quarry Hill, Kennington and East Bendigo where many historically significant buildings exist.

There was a surge of objections from residents, historians, and environmentalists. The plan was shelved by council and an Integral Transport and Land Use Strategy (ITLUS) was developed. 

Essentially, ITLUS promotes transport by walking and cycling, and concentration of future residential development within the current
urban area.

It encourages higher population density through construction of units, condominiums, and multi-storied residences.

All this is useful because it can retard and defer some improvements to the road system, however it does nothing to plan how people may readily move about in Bendigo in 2070.

The year 2020 is only seven months away and there are aspects of the 1970 plan that have not been undertaken. Nothing has been done about a collector/distributor road for the South Eastern quadrant of the city and, worse, council has yet to accept that the road system is archaic and simply will not serve traffic demands in a city of 200,000 people.

In conclusion, I’d suggest that sensible long-term planning saves money, avoids disputes, creates
employment, and maintains a sustainable, livable city.

Bruce Phillips,

Maiden Gully

Taken for a ride

Having recently returned from a trip to China I must say how fantastic it was to ride on a number of fast trains from Chengdu to Shanghai that constantly travelled at 240kmh; were on time, every time; and were clean with staff constantly emptying the bins and taking the rubbish off at certain stops.

Then you have the Magna train that runs from Shanghai to Pudong International Airport at a speed of 430kmh, which was a great experience.

It is interesting to note that the temperatures in China where these train run are similar to what we have in Victoria ranging from -4C to 45C, yet these trains still run at 240kmh.

So may be our local state member Jacinta Allan can explain why she
allowed her government to build such an inferior, so-called fast train that cannot run when the temperature gets above 32C because the rail line temperature is above 45C.

Did we get inferior lines, because they are all welded in China just like here?  Were we all taken for a ride yet again by Labor?

Robert K Smallpage,

Learn from Canberra

I read with interest the proposal by Don Erskine and Trevor Phillips (Bendigo Weekly, May 10) to develop Bendigo using a polycentric rather rather than a centalised model.

It was noted that this was the model used to develop Canberra, which has a series of five “self contained” towns in addition to central Canberra.

While there is much merit in this proposal, we can also learn from the planning mistakes of Canberra.

The key mistake of Canberra was to design the city around the car and to neglect public transport.

While Canberra has an excellent road network, traffic congestion has been a significant issue for many years.

While plans for rapid transit have been on the drawing board for more than 50 years, it has only just opened its first light rail line.

Bendigo is currently a highly car dependent city and while this still works with a population of 116,000, traffic congestion will become a problem as the population grows, no matter how many new roads are built.

Any plans for the growth of Bendigo must include plans for a good public transport network to provide a viable alternative to car use.

James Proctor,

STEM opportunity

National Youth Science Forum (NYSF) is on offer to  year 11 students. It is a gold class experience which could be life changing.

A boost to their career choices and an inspiration to help them achieve their goals in year 12 heading towards tertiary training.

NYSF is a unique 12-day experience in January 2020 at universities in Canberra and Brisbane.

Six hundred students from across Australia meet to explore a huge range of science and technology
activities supported by leading scientists and researchers.

Rotary is in partnership with NYSF and is responsible for endorsing students to apply. Applications are online at nysf@nysf.edu.au

Students should contact their
local Rotary club’s youth director to help them with the process. Applications close May 30.

Last year Bendigo students
excelled with eight successful applicants. Rotary assisted with funding.

This year a number of BSSC students have applied and we are very much hoping to have applicants from the other secondary colleges.

Lynne Cooper,

Rotary Club of Bendigo Strathdale