THIS week’s announcement of the cancellation of one of Bendigo’s
major fundraising events in support of Bendigo Health is sad, but not surprising news.
To those who say terrorism wins when we are forced to make changes to the way we conduct such high profile events, we say please be mindful of the legal obligation organisers have to ensure the community’s safety.
Sadly, we live in a world where the reality of terrorism and the associated risk of copycat attacks on
innocent people is all too real.
Acknowledging that safety comes first does not mean we are defeated.
It just means we have to work harder, and together, to find new and safer ways to ensure we can continue to enjoy participating in events such as the Bendigo Bank Fun Run.
It also means that this year’s cancellation will hopefully one day be looked back upon and judged to be a setback, and a turning point, but never a defeat.
The voluntary committee that brings this project together in conjunction with sponsors, Victoria
Police and the City of Greater Bendigo should know that there is a lot of support within this community, not just for the major fundraising event they put together each year for each of the past 12 years, but for the future as well.
More than ever, on the back of this announcement, Bendigo needs to rally behind the fun run committee and behind the hospital, to
ensure the financial momentum that the community has helped
deliver for the past 12 years is not lost, and that we continue to find ways to show our support.
We have no doubt organisers will look at ways to conduct
any future fun runs in a location
and manner that precludes the need for so many road closures,
barricades and vehicles to fulfil tightening safety criteria.
Bendigo has a superb hospital that we should feel immensely proud of and there’s a well-established history of community support that says we want to help.
And while Wednesday’s
announcement comes as no surprise, it follows community dissatisfaction at the presence of a high number of concrete bollards placed in strategic points throughout the central business district back at Easter time as part of actions deemed
essential to the safety of Easter Festival patrons and those attending
Anzac Day services.
Consider though, what the
reaction would be if there was an incident and we hadn’t taken every possible measure to ensure the commuity’s safety, and you quickly realise the difficult situation organisers were in.
These extra safety measures are a fact of life.
We might not like it.
We might not want it.
But it seems we have to have it, and more of it – for our own sakes.