Bendigo Advertiser Letters to the Editor: Council property sales, bikes on footpaths

‘Crazy’ to sell council property to fund Gov Hub

I read with horror the report (“Four council owned sites could make way for Gov Hub”, Bendigo Advertiser, August 7) that you are being encouraged to sell property the council owns and have an outside developer build a complex for the council’s staff and other organisations on which ratepayers will be required to pay rent.

This is a crazy proposal which I say in my capacity as a qualified property investment advisor. Property is a long term investment where you buy, renovate and never sell.

The best option for the council and the ratepayers of the City of Greater Bendigo is for the council to borrow and build this “Gov Hub” and lease the portions in excess of council’s requirements to other tenants which may or may not be Government departments.

By doing this eventually the council will own the building with no debt and be receiving rents which will help to fund the city’s operations just as the Hargreaves Street car park does and the Edwards Street car park will do when it is also debt free.

This will still provide a “hub” of 1000 people which will help to revitalize the CBD and cost  Bendigo ratepayers much less in the long term than renting.

It may interest you to know that I now live in Geelong where the Geelong City Council is planning to spend about $100 million building an eight story building to house its 2500 employees and discontinue using the eight separate sites it currently uses. Some of these sites are rented by the council and part of the reason for making this change is to make a considerable saving by not having to pay rent.

Alec Sandner, former Mayor of Bendigo

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Councils go bike mad

Recent reports that councils are considering allowing all bike riders to ride on footpaths at anytime is surely another slap in the face to the majority of ratepayers.

 At the moment only those under-12 have that right and that’s how it should remain. Our footpaths play an integral role in getting pedestrians – young or old –  and disabled to move about without the fear of being knocked down and or injured by a fast-moving cyclist.

I would also think cyclists get more than their share at the moment, particularly in a user-pay society in which they contribute little to nothing. Millions of dollars are spent by council on bike lanes, paths and bush tracks for cyclists now. The fact is that less than 1 per cent of our adult rate payers are regular cyclists and 99 per cent of rate payers are funding their choices.

There are already hundreds of clubs –  sporting or fitness – that simple do not share in the same equitable funding from councils.

It is time for all bikes to be registered as they already are in many European countries. This allows bikes to be identified if stolen or lost or where there is an accident or injury and a one-off fee is more than reasonable. All bike riders who use our roads should also be required to demonstrate at least a basic understanding of the road rules. This is for both their protection and that of other road users.  It is high time council stopped using the majority of ratepayers money to fund the choices of the few and the cyclists stop taking us all for a ride.

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Stuart Symes, Epsom

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