LIVE: Bendigo council meeting

Reporter William Vallely will be tweeting and posting a live video on Facebook of the council meeting from 6pm. Follow him on @williamvallely or watch the live stream here

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7.50PM Councillor James Williams speaks to the annual report of Bendigo Stadium, which, he says is still indebted to the council to the tune of a $12 million loan. However, he did say the stadium had it’s most profitable month ever recently. 

In the financial statement of the report, the stadium details $344, 950 in donations to charities and community groups in 2016-17. 

It’s net result of $1,065,997, was considerably lower than 2016 ($1,935,707) and 2015 ($1,822,163). 

7.20PM Bendigo councillors have approved Gurri Wanyarra as the name for the new Kangaroo Flat swimming complex and will explore community feedback to the idea of renaming Bendigo’s existing aquatic centre after OIympic gold medallist Faith Leech.

Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said councillors were in a position where they were seeking to do two things, namely trying to honour Ms Leech and Bendigo’s Indigenous heritage. 

The new motion was the “best of both worlds”, Cr O’Rourke said.

Related:Petition to rename Kangaroo Flat aquatic centre

“It (Gurri Wanyarra) will be as successful as the naming of Ulumbarra (theatre),” she said.

“When suggestions are put forward that are not researched or practical or in line with the state government’s naming policy it can create disappointment.”

Cr O’Rourke said Ms Leech’s family supported the new proposal.

“Their one request is that Faith’s name is attached to Greater Bendigo's premier competition pool as their desire is to see young people learn more about her achievements and know that representing your country is absolutely possible,” she said. 

Cr Matt Emond said the new proposal struck a balance between the two names. 

The suggestion to rename Bendigo’s existing aquatic centre after Ms Leech was put forward by councillor George Flack at an August council meeting. 

7.10PM Councillors endorse the draft public toilet strategy. Plenty of grins across the council table as this strategy is discussed.

Cr James Williams joked, “back in my Huntly council days I never thought I would be talking about a s****house strategy”. 

Tongue in cheek, Cr Wrigglesworth said: “I’m not sure if I should say whether I’m becoming a public toilet enthusiast or not.”

Councillors also endorse the draft Plan Greater Bendigo, opening it up for community consultation. 

A list of 18 priority projects for Bendigo have been identified in the draft plan. 

They include: the Marong Business Park, Bendigo Airport, more short-term student and hostel accommodation in the CBD and an upgrade to train tracks between Bendigo and Kyneton.

Speaking on the subject of duplicating the Calder Highway, Cr James Williams said: “The Calder is not a safe road, there has been numerous deaths on that road.”

“Council’s further north are very supportive of this project.”

Cr Andrea Metcalf said the draft plan gives opportunities to provide feedback on missing projects

“I encourage residents to think big and provide your feedback,” she said.

6.40PM A petition signed by over 1300 people requesting off-street parking at the White Hills shops has been knocked back by councillors.

A report from council’s managing engineer Brett Martini suggested council did not need to acquire a house on Plumridge Street to provide extra parking as there was no need for more parking given current business and parking utilisation trends. 

Cr Andrea Metcalf spoke in favour of the petition, suggesting people in the White Hills area may believe the council is ignoring them if their petition was rejected, especially given the amount of people that signed it. 

However, the motion to not actively pursue acquisition of the Plumridge Street for off-street parking was passed, with Crs Metcalf and Wrigglesworth voting against it.

6.30PM Annual report for 2016-17 tabled and approved by councillors, complimented by an interesting video, which was made by council staff. Have a look at the video on our livestream here.

5.40PM Welcome to our live blog of the October 18 Bendigo council meeting. A draft of plan Greater Bendigo will be discussed, as will the city’s public loo strategy. 

Debate surrounding the naming of the new Kangaroo Flat Aquatic Centre will be finalised tonight.

Full October 18 council agenda