THE Bendigo and District Environment Council’s Stuart Fraser yesterday became the sixth candidate for Eppalock ward in the City of Greater Bendigo elections on October 27.
The retired beekeeper ran for the now-defunct ward of Kangaroo Flat at the last election and said the opportunity to contribute to Greater Bendigo’s residential strategy was a driving force behind his nomination this time.
“The residential strategy is... probably one of the most important things to happen in the next four years. I’d like to have some input.”
Mr Fraser said expanding Bendigo beyond its current growth boundary could impact on the city’s liveability and result in a decline in services.
“Bendigo has a really good future as long as we think about it and be careful,” he said.
“Just having the idea we have to be bigger and bigger is dangerous.
“It would be near impossible to produce an integrated transport system that worked with a city that continued to sprawl.
“The servicing of a compact city is much more efficient and cost-effective.
“I’m interested in creating a very liveable city.”
Mr Fraser’s said a more compact city would also minimise the impact on the environment.
“We live in a rather precious place,” he said.
“The environment is under a great deal of pressure currently (and) we don’t need to operate that way.”
Mr Fraser believed the council had unintentionally neglected the smaller towns in the Greater Bendigo region.
He said new changes to the council boundaries would encourage councillors to think outside the city of Bendigo.
“I lived in the city all my life and I’ve worked in the country. I think that both areas are important.
“There’s been a lot of time fixing the centre of Bendigo and they’ve done a great job of that.
“The small towns though (are) important too. I know there has to be a balance but I don’t feel that there has been.”
Mr Fraser is also pushing for an independent review of the council’s finances and projects.
Mr Fraser was unsure how he would fare at the upcoming elections.
The other candidates for the Eppalock ward so far are current City of Greater Bendigo Mayor Alec Sandner, Eaglehawk businessman George Flack, Heathcote newsagent Wayne McKay, Bendigo teacher Tim Bardsley and Bendigo businessman Mark Weragoda.
“There will be other people to stand in this ward still to come,” Mr Fraser said.
“I would like to win, but to be honest, I don’t know.
“I like this place, I really want it to work well.
“We’re at a point where we have the potential to make a mess of it or to make a great city.”