Last council meeting of 2017 to discuss renaming pool, school crossing supervisor, Aspire Precinct

RENAMED: Bendigo Olympian Faith Leech is set to have her achievements honoured when the council renames the Bendigo Aquatic Centre after her.
RENAMED: Bendigo Olympian Faith Leech is set to have her achievements honoured when the council renames the Bendigo Aquatic Centre after her.

Bendigo Aquatic Centre looks set to be renamed the Faith Leech Aquatic Centre following a furore over the naming of the new Kangaroo Flat Aquatic Centre.

The new facility, currently under construction, was provisionally named the Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre in August, but Bendigo council received a petition – instigated by Faith Leech’s son Adam Tuohy – with over 500 signatures, urging them to reconsider and name it after the Olympic swimmer.

One public figure even suggested naming the new aquatic centre in recognition of the area’s Indigenous heritage would be a backward step, arguing it was “not appropriate”.

“Gurri Wanyarra” means Kangaroo Waterhole, which references the creek close to the facility, and was a name submitted by the Dja Dja Wurrung. 

A report prepared for council, which recommends councillors adopt the new name for the existing aquatic centre, suggested the Leech family wanted to ensure young people were able to learn more about Faith’s achievements and be inspired by her story of overcoming serious health issues, including curvature of the spine, to triumph at the highest level. 

Aspire Precinct set to go ahead

An artist's impression of the proposed Aspire Precinct.

An artist's impression of the proposed Aspire Precinct.

Elsewhere, the Aspire Precinct looks set to get the nod of approval from councillors at the December 13 meeting.

The Catholic Diocese of Sandhurst is seeking to progress plans to build a multi-million dollar interfaith precinct in Bendigo.

The precinct, adjacent to the Sacred Heart Cathedral, will be place of assembly, including a theatre, library learning centre, exhibition space, meeting space and hall.

Another report by a council staffer recommends councillors grant a permit for the precinct as it “will have positive economic and social impacts for the city and is a good planning outcome”.

“The proposal presents an appropriate urban design for the site and will enable the effective reuse of existing buildings within central Bendigo, without adversely impacting on the Sacred Heart Cathedral, which is of State level heritage significance, or the wider heritage precinct,” the report states.

Meanwhile, plans for a 35-metre pole and associated telecommunication facility at Averys Road, Eaglehawk will go before council, again with a positive endorsement from council staff.

Objectors voiced health concerns regarding Electro Magnetic Emissions and impact on property value. 

Proposed emissions were well within the established limits, and impact on property values was not grounds to refuse a permit, a report to council stated.

Councillors will also likely rubber stamp chief executive officer Craig Niemann’s reappointment next week following the announcement on Monday he had been provisionally reappointed.

Students to wait for crossing supervisor

Epsom Primary School students concerned about the safety of their classmates will have to wait until mid-2018 to find out if they will get a crossing supervisor.

Students presented a petition with more than 1200 signatures to Bendigo councillors last month for a ‘lolly pop’ person at the intersection of Midland Highway and Howard Street, Epsom.

However, a council response to the petition suggests a decision will be made by VicRoads, which along with the City of Greater Bendigo, jointly funds 44 school crossing supervisors in the municipality. 

Council has applied to VicRoads for a further three supervisors for the 2018-19 financial year, one of which, if successfully funded, will be stationed at the said intersection.

The council officer, through a response, said a supervisor used to be present at the intersection, however residential development off Goynes Road meant the city was requested to relocate the crossing supervisor to the Goynes Road crossing in 2015.

Grade six students Marnie Whitfort and Skye Webb, along with grade two pupils Grace Storey and Ava Dangerfield, wrote and distributed the petition to gain public support.

The students, whose campaign was supported by the school, believe more of their classmates would be allowed to walk to school if such a risk was addressed.

A funding decision will likely be made by VicRoads in May or June 2018, the council officer stated.