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


8.30PM Councillors endorse a motion to install a plaque on the western pillar of the View Street entrance gates to Rosalind Park for the former mayor of Bendigo, the late Daryl McClure, OAM. 

Mr McClure, who served as state member for Bendigo between 1973 until 1982 and published several books on the city’s history, died in March 2015 after a long illness.

“If anyone deserves some form of acknowledgement of their contribution to Bendigo it’s this man,” Cr Julie Hoskin said. 

Interestingly, Crs Emond and Wrigglesworth voted against the motion which was passed 7:2.

8.20PM Bendigo’s history, or how to store it and preserve it is being discussed by councillors, including the idea of the city’s first dedicated museum

Cr Jennifer Alden said one stop shop of a repository of knowledge is not the most popular choice presently.

Cr Yvonne Wrigglesworth said: “The one thing that is certain is that a museum will cost dollars, dollars that will fight for airtime with facilities like pools, for instance.”

Cr James Williams said in nearly every direction you head in the municipality, history surrounds us and finding the balance between preserving it was a difficult.

“There is no doubt the City of Greater Bendigo needs to establish an object storage facility,” Cr Andrea Metcalf said. 

Cr Matt Emond said the shrinking number of volunteers in the historical groups make them vulnerable.

“Until a long-term solution is made we need to do everything we can to support these groups,” he said.

8.05PM Discussing a recent trip to Dunedin, which cost ratepayers $6,000, Cr Fyffe said: “You see other ideas in the context. It’s important to see things which gives you a better idea of why things succeeded. 

Cr Williams said: “We talk about being the world’s most livable city, but how do we know if we don’t go anywhere.”

“It’s not a big expense in terms of education,” he said, describing the council’s spend on trips as conservative.

7.50PM Councillors vote to grant a permit for a 28-lot subdivision in Spring Gully.

7.35PM Councillors vote to reject an application for a gym in Axedale, due to amenity and noise concerns given the potential location was in a residential area.

7.30PM Speaking outside the town hall, Golden Square pool president Bernadette Wright said she was overwhelmed with the council decision.

“We will probably need to do some major (infrastructure) works which will require some fundraising,” she said.

“This decision shows that we (community) matter, our voices matter.”

The community will have to fund infrastructure improvements at the pool as part of the agreement with council.

Rendering work is required on the pool, while the venue needs a disabled toilet and a new chemical shed, Ms Wright said. 

“It is safe. I wouldn’t be supporting it if it wasn’t,” she said. 

“We know we’re an old facility but we’ll keep chugging away.”

7.15PM The Golden Square Pool avoids closure once again as councillors unanimously vote to keep the pool open for two more years to a backdrop of raucous cheers from the public gallery.

“It’s the beating heart of the suburb, let’s make it the healthy heart of Golden Square,” Cr Jennifer Alden said.

7.05PM Mayor Margaret O’Rourke said she has heard from both sides of the argument. 

“There is concern from residents who don’t use our facilities such as pools and they worry about the cost going into the future,” she said.

7.00PM Cr Matt Emond said delaying a decision for two years will allow the council to work with the facts, those being whether patronage numbers at the pool increase or decrease when the Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre opens in mid-2018.

6.55PM Cr Julie Hoskin, in supporting Cr Alden’s motion, said: “In my view the money council spends on the Golden Square pool is money well spent.” 

“To close this pool now doesn’t make sense to me.”

 6.50PM On costCr Andrea Metcalf said she needed to consider whether the council could afford to run 12 pools, comparing Bendigo to Ballarat, which has four outdoor pools and one indoor.

“There’s no doubt it is a highly emotive issue in the community. Undoubtedly a common theme is how much the community love using the pool given its family-friendly nature,” she said.

“I’m of the firm opinion a definitive decision needs to be made by this council. I don’t believe it’s fair on the morale of the volunteers to have any more uncertainty over the future of the pool.”

6.45PM Councillor Rod Fyffe said the pool was very well run – by the community – and meant a great deal to them. 

“What we have seen is an outpouring of community concern and what we have seen over the past two years is what a community can do,” he said.

Cr Alden, in proposing council delay a decision on the pool’s closure by two years, said: “The community reaction to the closure of the Golden Square Pool is the most significant issue I've encountered as a councillor.”

“I’ve been overwhelmed by letter and emails support the pool.

“Instead of closing pools, I believe we should have more pools, and not splash parks.”

Cr Alden proposed a two-year lease extension, maintaining the existing funding levels by Bendigo council.

6.40PM After a slight rejigging of the agenda, councillors will discuss and vote on the closure of the Golden Square pool.

6.35PM Cr Julie Hoskin delivers her councillor report in world-record time.

6.30PM Mayor O’Rourke says there is no truth in the rumours the land on which the Golden Square Pool is located has been sought after by Golden Square football netball club or Golden Square cricket club.

6.20PM A number of pool-related questions flying in here, which mayor Margaret O’Rourke attempts to answer as diplomatically as possible.

6.15PM Question from the Golden Square Pool president Bernadette Wright.

Why is the council further disadvantaging the residents of Golden Square with a recommendation that will force them to utilise pools in other communities?

Question goes unanswered as mayor Margaret O’Rourke suggests it will be answered when councillors discuss the pool’s closure.

6.10PM Esme Turner received a certificate of appreciation from the City of Great Bendigo for her outstanding and voluntary work recording the history of Huntly. 

Ms Turner said she knew nothing about the award until 4.30pm on Sunday afternoon, thanking the crowd and the city for her award.

5.40PM Golden Square residents have gathered outside the Bendigo Town Hall as councillors prepare to vote on whether to keep their local pool open.

5.30PM Welcome to our live blog of what promises to be an emotionally-charged council meeting, with councillors expected to decide the fate of the Golden Square Pool.

The pool escaped closure in 2013 after a management agreement was reached.

However, with the construction of the Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre nearing completion, a report to council recommends the pool be closed due to an oversupply of aquatic resources.

Campaigners to keep the pool open are expected to gather outside Bendigo town hall prior to the meeting. 

Full February 21 council agenda