A strong voice

I write to say thank you to the people of the Bendigo electorate. I am truly honoured and proud to be re-elected as the Federal Member for Bendigo.

The Bendigo electorate is a
diverse electorate but that diversity is our strength. It is made up of a diverse collection of villages like Newstead and Malmsbury; towns like Woodend, Castlemaine, Heathcote and Kyneton; and the regional city of Bendigo.

It is a vibrant region with a proud history and exciting future. I love our region and look forward to continuing to work hard for the many who work and live in the electorate.

I will be a strong voice for you in our nation’s parliament.

Lisa Chesters MP,

Federal Member for Bendigo

A strategic plan?

I read your front page headline (Bendigo Weekly, May 10), re a strategic plan for Bendigo and district.

Don Erskine and Trevor Phillips give a view of thinking in the longer strategic manner.

My comment is to highlight the first strategic component which surely must be a truck bypass connection from Marong to Huntly North.

The second component is a large industrial site west of Marong. These two components mesh
together, and then the others parts of this strategic plan will fall into place in the years and decades ahead.

The third component seems to be ignored by all, and that is water security.

It needs sound thinking because all the ideas cannot be achieved at once.

Bendigo had 85,000 people and some good industry post-WWII through to around the year 2000. It was a good retirement town for
retired farmers. Not so today.

With 120,000 residents, Bendigo is expanding rapidly, with a far more diverse mix of people. At 85,000 people Bendigo stood still, enjoying its golden past.

We need industry back in town and thus a large industrial site is vital.

A ring road skirting the south of the Whipstick Forest, north of Eaglehawk can be placed almost on existing road reserves.

I have driven from Marong, past the Bendigo Livestock Exchange, then on a road from there to north of Huntly, connecting with Midland cum Northern Highway at the Kamarooka turn off. Look at a map of Victoria. This is almost the most direct link to Echuca and Riverina, via the Calder Highway.

We are now thinking of the bigger picture of north-western and northern Victoria – Mildura, Swan Hill and Echuca and everything in between.

Bendigo, as a quirk of history and geography, is probably the only major town in Victoria that has no bypass within 200km of Melbourne: And now with massive trucks, it’s a great problem for the development of Bendigo.

Now, the Greater Bendigo City Council has its rate base virtually frozen by state government command, so it will require state government initiative; that is, Vic-Roads. So this requires design and approval of this bypass, and appropriate state infrastructure funding.

VicRoads has built the Ravens-wood roundabout, and is now constructing the new bridge over the Murray River at Echuca.

These two must be connected, and the proposed bypass just north of Bendigo is the way to achieve it.

The fact that this bypass is a
vital part of northern Victoria’s road infrastructure, and is a major bonus to the Bendigo urban area, make it all the more a necessity.

The last point is that the freeway must continue from Ravenswood to at least Huntly North. The present Calder Alternate Highway is on a designated three-chain road, so there are no problems there.

Doug Harrison,

Taken for a ride

Our city council seems to forget who they represent, and why. They ignore the issue of maintenance of the infrastructure called the Bendigo Creek.

Is it not a piece of infrastructure necessary for Bendigo? Yet our council officers ignore the destruction of the creek. Especially the section from Laurel Street to Booth Street which is in a horrible collapsed condition.

After some 10 years of raising this issue, council did reconstruct the section of Maple Street to Laurel Street at a cost of $900,000, but ignored the condition of the next section.

In the short term, as the retaining timber structure has deteriorated to a largely ineffective state, the city is monitoring this section more frequently in relation to risk to
adjoining land and downstream impacts. After 10 years of raising this issue I am disgusted.

I received notice from the
Executive Director Catchment,
Waterways, Cities and Towns that: “The City of Greater Bendigo manages the area of Bendigo Creek that you refer to and is responsible for maintenance work in that part of the embankment.”

It would appear not, in my opinion they show a lack of commitment and strategy in dealing with the creek infrastructure.

It is not in their strategy, they would rather spend millions of dollars on new works, ignoring the ratepayers.

Council officer admits the following: “It is recognised that the timber retaining wall on the south side of the creek between Laurel and Booth streets in particular, is now in a state where it no longer acts to retain the material behind it. The timber has not been removed but has reached a point where much of it has completely rotted away.”

They are aware of the problem, but it is not their priority to do anything about the situation.

Bill Collier,

Golden Square

Comprehensive foresight

Having lived in Canberra for 30 years and now enjoying retirement in Bendigo, we encourage the idea of a polycentric model for the further development of Bendigo and surrounds as suggested in the “Dream Big” article published in the Bendigo Weekly, May 10.

In Canberra, manufacturing, warehousing, goods transport hubs and large furniture retailers were
located in suburbs created for those purposes, leaving residential suburbs and associated roads, schools, universities, shopping centres and sports facilities for the use of residents.

A good network of roads with clear signage goes hand in hand with this polycentric model and, as Bendigo develops into the
future, it’s well worth taking action to prepare for such a comprehensive
vision explained in the article.

Cheryl and Allan Price,

Vision for Bendigo

Since 2014 and after many years involvement in election matters, I have been writing letters to the City of Greater Bendigo Council and asking questions at council meetings on future planning for the greater city – particularly in relation to main connecting roads.

At the February 15, 2017 council meeting I asked when would council take the lead and publish an overall concept plan for
the City of Greater Bendigo and future population of 200,000 and actively press for the implementation of that plan? I was assured that council “is on the same page”.

I have seen no such plan. And, as I said to one of the directors fairly recently, “I see you are still putting Band-aids on (various) cancers” instead of tackling the whole problem.

I congratulate Trevor Phillips and Don Erskine for the plan they have put forward and strongly support their ideas.

But I fear that, like my earlier letters and questions, their plan will be welcomed, but deferred to be considered in due course and the comment made that it is beyond council’s range of responsibility. It is not.

Putting such a plan into action must start from the council and council officers.

So I appeal to the City of Greater Bendigo to embrace the Erskine/Phillips’ plan and move to develop it and seek funding for implementation.

Tony McDowell,
Golden Square

Common phrase

A phrase incessantly used but with vague meaning is “action on climate change”.

Whatever form it finally takes, my guess is that a lot of money will change hands while the climate continues on its inexorable way.

Brian Stanmore,