Our assets … going, going and soon to be gone
The gavel is being raised as it appears Greater Bendigo council is ready to selloff more prime CBD property without consultation or full information for residents and ratepayers.
The Bendigo Bunch has blindly jumped to State Government orders, as you would expect from a council about to be a branch office of Spring Street, and agreed to sell our land and buildings in Lyttleton Terrace for the costly GovHub project that is under darker clouds by the day with the effective demise of Regional Development Victoria.
Not a public word was uttered about parking for the mythical new jobs sharing the building with council staff, a building that has Bendigo going from owning its own council offices to paying top-dollar commercial rent.
It slipped out at council’s community consultation session on Monday night – yes they can talk to residents as long as it’s not about GovHub – with some sneaky little slides in the consultant’s presentation that parking on the Lyttleton Terrace site was to be addressed.
But as they say in the classics, wait, there’s more.
This same consultant, billed as a CBD parking guru by council in its promo flyer and clearly out of his depth when he couldn’t even get the city’s population right (out by 30 per cent!), had even more startling revelations.
He showed a slide of the carpark at the corner of Edwards and Hargreaves Streets, earmarking it for disposal to a property developer.
Surely, this too, should have been discussed by the Bendigo Bunch and CEO … and in public.
What other prime CBD land owned by council have the Bunch earmarked for selling off? Is the carpark opposite TAFE or the Myers St carpark?
Selling assets to fund good projects is a worthy move. That’s what Geelong is doing for its new council offices, staying independent and self-sufficient.
Is this a way that council could help pay for the building of a GovHub or office consolidation and retain ownership rather than being renters? Were the councillors aware of this opportunity at the time of the vote? If not, why not?
And to the really big question before the auctioneer’s hammer falls: Were councilors aware of a GovHub parking proposal when they voted in principle on the sale of the council land?
Councillors – you meant to be the checks and balances? What is happening? The community must be told.
We have written to the CEO seeking answers. Your time to answer these questions is going …. going …