FOR every new name attached to a place in Bendigo – no matter how minor – at least three signs and other physical assets need to be created as a result, according to the council.
Without a co-ordinated approach to naming places, the City of Greater Bendigo claims it has lost a level of control in its attempt to manage public spaces.
The council is considering a draft place interpretation and naming policy, and has pointed to the Dick Turner Reserve in Golden Square as an example of a poorly-controlled public park.
The small park – on the edge of High Street out the front of the Foundry Hotel – contains a toilet block, playground, BBQs, picnic tables, a Hungarian monument, Bendigo Women’s Memorial sculpture and monuments to former councillor Dick Turner.
The items were added over the course of decades in an “ad hoc” manner.
In a report to council, heritage planner Danielle Orr said other parks in Bendigo could also head down the path of becoming overly crowded with mismatching structures.
“The reserve is now crowded with individual elements that do not relate to each other or to that particular location,” Ms Orr said.
“Ultimately, the poor design of the reserve contributes to its lack of use by the community and contributes little to the liveability and wellbeing of the immediate residents.
“There is a risk that if the city continues to add assets, fixtures and names that are not dealt with in a consistent manner, our public spaces will continue to, and increasingly be, populated with elements that impact and even detract from the amenity and setting of the public space.”
The recent debate around the naming of the Gurri Wanyarra Wellbeing Centre in Kangaroo Flat and the Faith Leech Aquatic Centre – formerly the Bendigo Aquatic Centre – highlighted a lack of a standard approach to naming sites in Bendigo.
The draft policy states any renaming needs to be “well considered, planned, designed, displayed and maintained to enhance public spaces for residents and visitors”, and to interpret stories about Bendigo.
The council also stated the policy would not affect sporting clubs’ ability to put up advertising signage or naming rights to venues, despite this technically being prohibited under council regulations.
The council says it handles a large number of naming requests from the public each year and the new policy would create a better co-ordinated response.
Councillors will vote on the plan next Wednesday.