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Bendigo’s big New Year sale! Why are our buildings losing value?

It’s pretty sad these days to walk through the Hargreaves Mall and along Mitchell Street – our once bustling retail precinct dotted with empty shops and remnants of the closing down sale signs fading in the summer sun.

The decadent state of the Mall and environs is on display every day, evidence of appalling policy and wasteful, ruinous spending by City of Greater Bendigo council now so intoxicated with disaster, the New Year hangover clings to the Bunch even more than those pesky flies hovering a balmy Saturday night barbecue where grandiose dreams of rejuvenating the CBD turn to the reality of a scary nightmares.

Any wonder the Bendigo Bunch is jumping to bail out their bank mates who have downsized and barely fill half the building these days.

The state of the CBD under the watch of CEO Craig Niemann for more than a decade really does question the value and worth of the city’s assets. But the Bendigo Bunch, in keeping with their keep the people in the dark attitude, continues to fail our residents by dragging the chain in releasing the register of assets owned by the city.

This register by law is required to be prepared every year and detail the location of assets owned by the city in trust for the residents of the city and the value of those assets … yes how much they are worth.

It’s pretty important information. Assets can determine the how much money you are able to borrow, assets are an investment for future growth and prosperity, assets properly maintained increase your worth and value.

With City of Greater Bendigo saying it will offload the land and municipal offices we own in Lyttleton Terrace to the State Government for Jacinta Allan’s dud GovHub, council has an obligation to the people of Bendigo to state the current value of the iconic building and land as recorded in its asset register.

Our attempts to obtain a copy of the register for 2018-2019 listing the value of the land being gifted to the State Government for the dud GovHub has come back with some disturbing information – according to the council, value of land and buildings in Lyttelton Terrace has decreased. Yes, the Bunch says they are going down in value at the very time they try and hoodwink citizens into believing everything is good.

Instead, CEO Niemann and his senior staff continue to sign off on letters full of waffle in fool-hardy responses that struggle even address our requests let alone produce a copy of the register.

We have now written asking the the register of assets listing the Lyttleton Terrace site for each of the past five years. We, and you, want to know just how much all our assets are worth and have they too, gone down in value.

Now, if council is so hell-bent on hiding the real value it has attached to our major CBD asset, how can we have any confidence in the price they “negotiate” with the State Government?

We need assurance that the Bendigo Bunch is not just selling off our assets to balance the books, pick up sky-rocketing bills from the State Government of Premier Andrews and Ms Allan and condemn us to a future of total financial dependency on Spring Street.

What other assets are they stripping from the books? We know that a group of former Eaglehawk Borough councillors were up in arms last year with council disposing on land purchased for carparking many years ago. Surplus to requirement said the Bendigo Bunch; a further reduction of assets and infrastructure for the future we say.

But back to this dud GovHub. For some months Bendigo council has dodged releasing details on its asset register.

The cynical would be right to view this as a shifty attempt to deny the residents of our valuable and important information vital to allowing proper community consultation and engagement on the biggest decision made in decades by the Bendigo council. Any wonder the Bendigo Bunch cannot get rid of the monkey on their back.

We continue to pursue release and publication of the City of Greater Bendigo asset register and bring the worst council in our history – one without a care for openness, transparency, engagement or consultation with community – to heel.

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