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Knocking a gap in history

Four months ago, City of Greater Bendigo released the Heritage Gap Analysis it had commissioned from Landmark Heritage Pty Ltd to to “inform the development of a strategy providing clear direction to Council on the best approach to manage and prioritise the work required to complete the suite of post-contact heritage studies for the City”.

Among specific objectives was to complete documentation of critical gap areas in Greater Bendigo's built heritage coverage to assist future planning and development in an efficient and timely manner.

One building listed in the Gap Analysis and also a 2013 Thematic Environmental History Overview Report as of potential significance is the City of Greater Bendigo offices in Lyttleton Terrace.

The Gap Analysis, published on council’s website, also says that of 84 places identified in the 2013 report, only five have been added to the heritage overlay since 2013 and four, including Epsom Primary School, have been demolished.

Based on the Gap Analysis, the council’s so-called heritage credentials are shown to be totally tattered and torn to the point of being binned.

A real test of judgement for council looms. In February, six councillors voted in-principle to sell the Lyttleton Terrace land and buildings, without community consultation, to the State Government for a second-class GovHub project – inferior to the tune of $1.4 billion economic benefit that Ballarat will achieve for that city’s GovHub without a cent from that council and built on Crown land.

Will council act on this important Heritage Gap Analysis and defer any further wasting of time, money and resources on GovHub until all steps are completed in considering a heritage overlay for the our Lyttleton Terrace home that has been waiting to be done since 2013?

Or will the council simply dismiss the Landmark Heritage report like it did a costly report on council office consolidation prepared at ratepayer expense by PriceWaterhouseCooper in the months leading up to that fateful GovHub betrayal?

If the council does not act on the Heritage Analysis, there will be an irreversible gap in the timeline of our build environment after the Lyttleton Terrace offices are demolished.

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