Debate over transport and key projects

CITY of Greater Bendigo Mayor Barry Lyons is throwing the door open to suggestions on the city's future.

A Town Hall forum tonight will look at long-term transport plans and priorities on key infrastructure projects.

The event is aiming to capture feedback and ideas on the direction Bendigo should be taking.

Cr Lyons said the use of public transport and the way people got around the city was a key area of discussion.

He said Bendigo has become too "car-centric".

"The way the city's growing you won't be able to park in the city in the future," he said. 

"So we're going to have to look at having more public transport available."

The council's Transport and Land Use strategy found about 90 per cent of Bendigo residents drove to work and 75 per cent of school-aged children were driven to school.

The forum will focus on the next stage of the transport strategy and ideas on what investment is needed.

Cr Lyons said it was a long-term vision and would look at options available over the next 20 to 30 years.

He said a general reluctance to use public transport and low frequency of services was a barrier.

"People have said they don't like getting on a bus with other people," he said.

"Whereas in Melbourne you don't think of it - you just jump on the tram or train.

"There's a certain perception about public transport here. We've got to get that to change, but we need to get the public transport service right for a start."

The transport forum will be followed by a meeting about major projects.

Discussions will focus on how the council decides which projects receive funding in the $50 million of capital works it carries out each year, including drainage, building works, roads and footpaths

Cr Lyons said those projects were chosen from a pool of more than $500 million of potential projects.

He said it was an opportunity for residents learn how the council set its funding priorities, and add their views on what sort of works are needed. 

The transport meeting starts at 6pm at the Bendigo Town Hall before the Project Priorities forum at 7.30pm.

A forum background paper containing further information is available by visiting www.bendigo.vic.gov.au

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