Bad business by Bendigo Bunch
Once upon a time, here in central Victoria, we had councils comprised of elected represented guided by the principles of good government and happy to advocate sound visions for the future.
There was the Huntly Shire that built new offices - now owned and occupied by North Central Catchment Management Authority that won’t give them up to move into a dud Bendigo CBD GovHub.
There was the staunchly parochial but loyal Eaglehawk Borough Council that bought land for carparking in Napier Street – land the current City of Greater Bendigo is trying to sell without consultation (what a surprise) and not a skerrick of respect for locals.
Marong Shire Council that did a game-changing deal for a shopping centre in Kangaroo Flat and gained a new library building in the process – a building that is about to no longer be home for eager readers.
Out in Strathfieldsaye, they led the way with the start of a population boom across Bendigo and today battles council for services.
And Bendigo, where gold came out of the ground for decades there were councillors at the forefront of every important development.
These councils had their critics in the spirit of great debate but they were respected for making decisions on the whole proven to be sound over the years.
Fast forward to 2019 and 20 years after the five became one, City of Greater Bendigo council is increasing being labelled a bunch of clowns.
Now we’re not sure if they’d pass the audition with Astons or Silvers circuses, but we’ve labelled them the Bendigo Bunch because we like so many others are waiting to be convinced of their support for good governance and transparency.
They talk about the future all the time does this Bendigo Bunch, but there’s never any detail and consultation that according to CEO Craig Niemann in one media interview this year said is all so old hat.
The Bendigo Bunch are juggling disaster after disaster – the mall, the Carter farm saga have been whoppers. But the dud GovHub is looming as the biggest ratings flop yet in the council Big Top.
Some are saying this council has simply lost it. They are concerned councillors have put others before this city of Bendigo. They cherry-pick information to create a scene very different to the reality now playing out.
Any wonder then the roar from the crowd is growing to halt GovHub until the business case is released and there is community consultation – good business and some good governance.
If that happens, the Bendigo Bunch might gain just a little respect. Wouldn’t that be novel.
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