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Consultation? What a hypocritical bunch

Updated: Sep 25, 2019

The Bendigo Bunch are hard to fathom for logic. Back in February CEO Craig Niemann said community consultation on council selling our land and buildings in Lyttleton Terrace to the State Government for a dud GovHub was all so old-hat and not needed.

CEO Niemann, a joint architect of the GovHub concept hatched in the back rooms of Spring Street, had a hell-bent course to follow after using council (our) funds to have not one but two reports prepared by consultants on future office accommodation for our city employees.

An estimated $180,000 later and scant details of these reports released to the public, let alone any business plan of council to sell our land and buildings, he saw six meek and subservient councillors buckle and betray our city by agreeing in-principle to sell the “family home” and become a high-paying tenant in a GovHub that fails every basic mathematics test.

No opportunity for the people of Bendigo to have a say on the most monumental of decisions made by a council in decades. Any dissent either ignored or removed from council forums. The people who pay the wages of these servants of our city treated with contempt.

Multi-million asset abandoned by the trustees and Bendigo left with second-class bargain-basement GovHub. If you were the State Government, you wouldn’t find a cheaper deal on ebay.

But back to community consultation. The Bendigo Bunch is all about smoke and mirrors and more than happy to engage the community on low-hanging fruit projects like the draft master plan for Wolstencroft Reserve in Flora Hill or design plans for the Ewing Park Wheeled Sports Hub for scooters, skateboards, roller skates, in-line skates and all forms of cycling.

There is simply no consistency to what the Bendigo Bunch does. Does that explain the wasted millions of dollars on one failed project after another to revitalise the CBD and particularly the Hargreaves Mall that has become a retail wasteland under the watch of the Bendigo Bunch CEO? Or the pig-headed way they ploughed on in an ultimately futile and costly attempt to seize the Carter family farm at Marong?

The Bendigo Bunch is happy to get their skates on for community consultation on some projects. So why not the really big decisions that always seem to end in more tears than a cyclist out of control down Big Hill?

The nasty gravel rash scars of earlier debacles are far from healed yet the Bendigo Bunch, oblivious to the perils ahead, keeps riding into a head wind of community concern

The dud GovHub project is already costing Bendigo ratepayers money and diverting staff resources away from a focus on basic services the council should be providing to an acceptable standard – roads, footpaths, drainage, upkeep and maintenance of existing facilities.

The Bendigo Bunch needs to be open and honest with every resident of Bendigo by releasing the council business plans behind their decision on GovHub and commencing a genuine community consultation. Take us into your confidence and listen before making another foolish decision that diminishes the city’s foundations for the future.

If you don’t, it’s a sure bet the voters of Bendigo will not have confidence in re-electing compliant councillors at the council elections in just over a year.

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