What is the council’s ‘secret’ plan for Gov Hub?
The councillors and the city’s CEO must explain their secret plans to residents.
One can only hope and trust members of the Carter family can get on with their lives now the state government has ended the council’s attempt to compulsorily acquire their land, and it’s time Bendigo residents were told how much of their money council squandered when it chose to act against the recommendations of the independent panel.
But, now I hear there’s another planning disaster in the making.
Despite the bruising defeat of its ill-considered and hugely expensive Marong Business Park fiasco, council appears to be rushing to develop a so-called “Government Hub” for which the government reportedly promised $16 million. Overall estimated project costs vary from $90 to $100 million depending on who you talk to.
It’s claimed this hidden project is being developed with assistance and encouragement from the current state government in pursuit of “decentralisation”.
Well, I’m old enough to remember the last time “decentralisation” was a planning buzz-word.
I also remember it delivered very limited results despite considerable expenditure – just like the Marong Business Park.
In spite of the apparent secrecy surrounding the project, I recently saw a job advertisement for a senior position with council to manage this “Government Hub”.
Well, I’m old enough to remember the last time 'decentralisation' was a planning buzz-wordMax Turner
I take it from the ad that the project is going ahead and ask Mayor O’Rourke is it true council intends to demolish its Littleton Terrace offices and sell the very valuable large parcel of land they occupy?
Is a private enterprise being invited to construct a very large building by Bendigo standards in which council will rent back space for its administration offices at a substantial commercial rate?
Are other government and non-government organisations being invited to rent the rest of the building’s office space?
What will the project cost ratepayers to develop and what are the financial risks?
What, if any, new job opportunities will be created by the project?
What has council done to ensure Bendigo residents are sufficiently knowledgeable about the proposal to give informed support of council’s decisions? I canvassed 30 ratepayers last week and all bar one had no knowledge of the so called Government Hub.
Has a business plan been developed to satisfy ratepayers this project is a sound investment of their money?
What has council done to ensure the large building proposed will not have a disastrous negative impact on the city’s visual character and does it require council purchase of privately owned land?
Bendigo’s reputation cannot afford another costly council failure, it is beholden on the mayor to lift the veil of secrecy covering this city-changing proposal or quash these damaging rumours.
Max Turner, Bendigo
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