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Not-so-bright sparks blow a GovHub fuse

A dud GovHub of four storeys in Lyttleton Terrace after the Bendigo Bunch sells our city’s home to the State Government, hands the cheque straight back and then pays top-dollar rent … but still we have seen no business case and it is as clear as a moonlit night that council is making decisions on the run.

Why even council’s own staff have real concerns about the capacity of the CBD to cope with the extra cars that are currently parked at Epsom and East Bendigo every day, its occupants buying from businesses in those suburbs and employed by government departments that will be sucked into the inner-city vortex.

Only recently, they admitted Bendigo city centre infrastructure could struggle to meet the demands of multi-storey development.

City of Greater Bendigo senior strategic planner Philip De Araugo was quoted in the Bendigo Advertiser saying:

"Our current infrastructure (for electricity and water) just doesn't quite support that which adds cost to the development and essentially cost to the end price of the purchaser," Mr DeAraugo said.
"Because of the scale of development that we want it means that they're not big enough that you build new sub-stations... but they're too big to just tap into the existing services."
The city's 2005 CBD plan also committed to encouraging residential development as part of reinforcing the area as a centre of activity for Bendigo.
At the moment all the costs of compensating for the increased demand went on to the development sector, which meant projects became unviable, Mr DeAraugo said.
"They've got to incorporate electricity substations, firefighting tanks and boosters, and essentially water pressure boosters."

So there’s confirmation that electricity and water issued have been added to the lack of CBD parking that are already plaguing this project once touted as a one-stop government shop that as we reported last week, will in fact see residents travelling several kilometres to access some services.

Council says the city is addressing these issues as part of a review of the 2005 CBD Plan. It was due to present a draft Bendigo City Centre Plan to council in about July, which will then be released for community comment.

Well there’s not too much left of July as the mid-year Christmas functions come to an end and the countdown begins for the jolly fellow in a red suit to make his grand appearance in less than five months.

No report on the horizon. Another flip-flop slippery timeline that keeps up the grand tradition of the Bendigo Bunch in delaying and limiting release of information on big projects.

There’s no bigger drama than selling the family home as this council wants to do, obediently following instructions from the State Government puppet masters.

And what about those four storeys for a GovHub that is already over original budget by 10 per cent and no doubt rising by the day? Without seeing the business plan, and going on track form, we can only ask whether allowance has been made to improve electricity and water infrastructure?

And who will foot the bill, bigger than some of the size 16 boots kicking a ball around the QEO on a Saturday afternoon? Will it be another hidden nasty for the ratepayers of Bendigo?

All the more reason to turn at the charade called community consultation they have scheduled for 27 July … it’s probably about the only date council can keep.

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