As a born and bred Bendigonian I have watched the furore over the frontage of the Masons restaurant with trepidation.
To me it seems a contest between arbitrary and stifling bureaucracy and a vibrant venue that exudes progress, is a celebration of the area’s produce and attracts visitors from all over the state.
Masons is my pick of a venue to take interstate guests when they are in Bendigo.
This is because the venue represents all the glory that is Bendigo.
The design is modern and striking, the food is world-class, and the service rivals that of hatted restaurants in Melbourne.
When I finished high school in 2001 I left Bendigo with great haste because it was then a place of stagnation.
There was no pride in our once great city. There were no grand public works, no luminescent culture and no sense of civic pride in our city.
Now there has been a great change in the city – a boom is occurring.
People are returning to Bendigo, ventures are being undertaken, houses are being built and culinary establishments are emerging.
The latter example is most pertinent.
Our city needs venues like Masons.
They lift the ethos of our great city and show the world what is on offer right here. Not in a far-off city, but right here in Bendigo.
The city of great Victorian wealth with grand buildings and suburbs of mansions.
A city of grand public spaces and famous residents.
Places like Masons, The Dispensary, The Old Green Bean, The Brewhouse and others draw people to our city.
They are magnetic. People journey for weekends and stay to build lives.
You must advance the archaic and petty rulings held by the City of Greater Bendigo to pave an easy path for these venues to operate in.
They are the lifeblood of our city and without them, we will again stagnate.