Don’t blame the teenagers for mall woes
Various opinions have been raised recently about Bendigo's mall. I found myself there the other day sitting amongst groups of loud and unruly young people. As an older person, I could easily add to the voices that would condemn their behavior but I don't.
Rather, I looked around at the bleak public space, dribbling fountains, ugly rocks which appear to have fallen haphazardly from the sky. Massive static screens that have not changed since they were installed. The empty shopfronts only reinforce the depressing scene.
The only positive was the sound of children playing on a garish plastic dragon that would not be out of place in an underfunded moomba parade. Do not blame a few teenagers for the mall's woes. If all you offer is chips and gravy, what do you expect?
Why don't we look at the failed vision of the City Futures Directorate and responsible COGB councillors? This is their tragic and expensive legacy to the depressing state of our CBD.
Denis Chapman, Bendigo
Make the right choice
Have you ever seen a little baby being swung into the water, its little fat legs pumping as it is surprised by the sharp shock of coldness, as the parents laugh with delight at the new discovery?
Have you ever seen a group of boys cackle with glee as they scoff down packets of chips and dive into the water one after another, chasing each other round and round?
Have you ever seen a family, tired after a long day at school and work, sit in lush green grass, eating fish and chips from the local corner store as they gaze at the setting sun and jump into the pool to wash off the stress of the day?
Have you ever seen a jam-packed pool party with food trucks and live music, happy couples and big families and birthday parties dancing along as the fairy lights come on and the night comes alive?
Have you ever seen groups of girls lying on the side of the pool, their legs dangling to the side as they turn the pages of their various books?
Have you ever seen a dad cook a BBQ lunch for a big family reunion, while the grandads play water cricket with their large herd of grandchildren?
I’ve seen all of this. Many times. I see it over and over and over again, at the Golden Square Pool. And this week, the councillors of the City of Greater Bendigo have to vote either for or against the recommendation to close the pool for good.
The reason to close the pool is for “over provision” of aquatic services around Bendigo.
To be fair, there are a lot of pools in Bendigo. I work at some of them. But they cater to different people with different needs. All the indoor pools I have worked at have been primarily for swimming laps and lessons from learn-to-swim bubs to swim squads.
All of the outdoor pools I have ever worked at or visited are the home of the casual swimmers, they offer relaxation and happiness and discovery and laughter and joy and excitement. They allow friendships to be forged, new skills to be learned and treats to be had.
Did you know there was a Golden Square Pool? Did you know it’s been around for 100 years? Should anyone stand in the way of a new generation from experiencing all that a pool like this one offers?
The recommendation to close this pool is wrong. What would be gained financially from its closure would be lost tenfold in the positive benefit the public receives from using it.
Why, if the dying Hargreaves mall and the lack of any interest there is such an issue, would anyone vote to close a community hub down that attracts so many people and provides such an important and vital resource for our community.
Think carefully how you vote councillors. There’s a correct choice.