Bendigo council hopefuls speak at forum

BENDIGO residents had the chance to hear from City of Greater Bendigo councillor candidates at a public forum last night. 

About 50 people listened to the views of 12 of the 21 candidates.

While the two-hour session dealt with a wide variety of topics and issues, most candidates said they wanted to see well-planned and managed growth that did not adversely affect native vegetation or heritage. 

All candidates gave support – some in principal – to expanding and redeveloping Bendigo Airport, and many spoke of paying careful attention to council spending and rate rises. 

Concerns over roads and public transport in the growing city were also raised, with many concerned current infrastructure would quickly become outdated. 

But Councillor Barry Lyons, who is hoping to be re-elected said it would be tough to “change the culture” of car users to embrace public transport. 

Councillor Peter Cox raised the idea of a 4 per cent rate rise cap, noting that council wages went up $14 million in four years, while his claim that 

$4 million a year had been on consultants raised groans from the audience. 

An independent review of council expenditure received support from several candidates.  

All candidates agreed that council should engage young people through Facebook and Twitter and most spoke of listening to the needs of the wider community. 

Attendees hailed the forum a success, despite the absence of eight candidates. 

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