What does this council have against community?
We’ve heard it so often – the current Bendigo council carries on without a care for what the people of city think, say and do.
As long as the officers get their way and keep building little empires, all is content for the CEO and company in their offices wherever they may currently be in costly leased buildings.
But things start looking really crook for the community prognosis when the 2020-2021 draft budget allows expenditure on another 37 council staff while the very grassroot volunteers of Bendigo are being ignored or battling to keep their activities going.
The Bendigo Alliance is worried that council keeps ripping at the heart of the Bendigo community.
You may have read in some media that the current council is lacking commitment to give permission to the Golden Square Pool committee to continue successfully operating a community facility council wanted to close down a few years ago.
As one of the few remaining outdoor pools in Bendigo, people have voted with the feet and flippers by flocking to the recreation facility in our warmer months, a facility that was saved and has thrived through the hard work and passion of volunteers.
You may have also read that council has moved the Bendigo Farmers’ Market from the CBD to the Bendigo Pony Club grounds in Golden Square. Talk about taking people away from the centre of the city at a time it needs every bit of foot traffic to begin recovery!
And the pony club, another volunteer community organisation, fears it is being squeezed to make way for some food hub council wants to establish. Sounds more like eviction of a long-standing community group by stealth so that council staff get their way again.
You may also have heard that community music groups have been stripped of annual funding support – token as it has been – by council.
Yes, our brass and pipe bands that are there every ANZAC Day, every Easter Fair and at great community celebrations sharing their music, are no longer valued by Bendigo council. Musical groups bringing together volunteers of all ages in a healthy and active lifestyle activity left to their own … but no doubt still expected to turn up and play music.
How much have they lost in council funding – probably about $25,000 in total, not even the half cost of one of the 37 new staff council wants to employ. The bands have event started an online petition to get their funding back.
We are the community and it’s about time we put the U back in to council, supporting local people, local volunteers and for once listening and acting in the best interests of Bendigo.
The Bendigo Alliance will support any candidate at this October’s elections that commits to do that!