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Yes Mr CEO, there can be real community consultation

The dud GovHub decision by council's Bendigo Bunch has already been revealed as reducing our fiercely proud city to being a branch office of the State Government and a very poor regional cousin when compared with the overly generous deal given to Ballarat.

Bendigo residents will lose an valuable asset in the CBD, an iconic building knocked down by the wrecker's ball, the sale cheque handed straight back to the government and we'll be slugged with top dollar commercial rents for the next two generations. In Ballarat, it's a total government GovHub project - no council money or involvement - and the government is even giving money to the council.

Now there's news out of Geelong about that council's plans for office consolidation ... and yes, real community consultation on a scale that will surely again question Bendigo CEO Craig Niemann's deficient approach towards engagment before council rolled over on GovHub back in February just as people were returning from their fun-filled days lazing on the beaches around Geelong.

This is what the Geelong Advertiser reported on Friday 26th April:

GEELONG residents this week were asked to provide ideas for their council’s planned $90 million office complex and civic precinct.

The project will be built on the car park at 137 Mercer St, opposite the Geelong Police Station, over the next three years as the City of Greater Geelong aims to consolidate its operations from nine ­office buildings in the city centre to one central ­location.

The city has yet to choose its preferred tenderer for the project, but this week kickstarted the community consultation process by opening an online forum ahead of holding in-person events at the site in the weeks ahead.

CoGG says it wants to know “what the community wants to see in this space, what businesses or services are missing in this area, (and) what will ­deliver value for Geelong residents, now and into the ­future”.

“This is an opportunity for Geelong residents to help shape the future of our new civic precinct,” CoGG chief executive officer Martin ­Cutter said.

“It will be far more than just a building of which we can all be proud.

“We need input from all parts of our community to ­ensure this is an inclusive, ­accessible and welcoming precinct that the whole community can enjoy.”

Eleven developers initially nominated to oversee the project, and the council cut the contenders down to a shortlist of three in February.

Geelong-based Raffles Chatter Pty Ltd is on that list, along with epc. Pacific and Quintessential Equity, which developed the WorkSafe Victoria headquarters little more than 100m from the site where council wants to build.

For further information or to take part in the online forum visit

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