ERECTING a roof over Hargreaves Mall could boost the area, according to former Bendigo mayor Alec Sandner.
And moving council staff into office space in the mall would improve foot traffic, he said.
Speaking at a forum last night, Mr Sandner said a previous council had considered the roofing idea but opted to revamp the shopping strip without it.
“The aim of this exercise is to bring more people into the CBD of Bendigo,” he told the forum.
“Where are people shopping today?
“They’re shopping at the Bendigo Marketplace where they can drive into an undercover car park.
“You don’t even have to get out of your car with an umbrella.
“If I had my way in the central business district, the first thing I’d do was roof Hargreaves Mall.”
Mall poll: Have your say on Alec Sandner's roof plan
Mr Sandner said the plan put to council was costed at $8.25 million.
“The council at the time said it was too much,” he said.
“They said we’d do the Hargreaves Mall (revamp) but we won’t put a roof on it.
“In my mind it was designed for a roof.”
Mr Sandner also said a lot of office space in the CBD was obsolete as businesses sought modern facilities.
He also took aim at parking fees in the city.
"I’m very pleased to hear the comment around parking," he said.
"I believe that parking fees in the CBD should be abolished but the time limits should remain.
"Shoot me down in flames, but that’s what I believe."
Mr Sandner was Bendigo's previous mayor and was replaced by Lisa Ruffell.