Across various tiers of government, 2018 was a big year for Bendigo.
On a state level, the election was a bloodbath. The Liberals suffered huge setbacks, but it was encouraging to see the Nationals gain support through Gaelle Broad.
On a local level, the City of Greater Bendigo was involved in litigation with current and former councillors and its councillors made two significant decisions – keeping the Golden Square Pool open and acquiring the Carter family’s land for a Marong business park.
The latter was overturned by the state government in July.
1 – ‘It’s finally over’ – Carter family relieved after minister saves farm
A sixteen year battle with the Bendigo council came to an end for the Carter family in July after the planning minister rejected a City of Greater Bendigo decision to forcibly acquire a section of the family farm for a business park in Marong.
The writing appeared to be on the wall for the family after the state government rezoned the land in 2017, prompting the council to vote in favour of a forced sale at a fiery meeting in April.
The Carters’ plight brought out the best, and in some cases worst, of the community.
2 – Doing it for Dad – Wire ropes protest planned
The state government’s decision to install wire rope safety barriers was, and still is, contentious.
One Bendigo family is using the memory of their father, who died in a crash on the Calder Highway in 2017, to drive a road safety campaign.
3 – Emerging from the fog: Bendigo woman details opioid addiction
Driven, successful, intelligent – Michelle Taylor was a functioning drug addict for a year.
But her addiction to pain-relief medication was an unhealthy one and was ruining her life.
4 – Your town your voice: Newbridge
Newbridge’s story, part of a broader series, highlights how certain areas of regional Victoria are being left behind.
A lack of town water forces some residents on urban blocks to bathe in the Loddon River when their water tanks run dry.
Newbridge has no sewerage either, and many in the town are worried without either of the two essential services, the proud area may die a slow death.
5 – Fatbergs rising – wet wipes causing headaches in central Victoria
A story some might consider slightly disgusting.
But it’s a necessary one.
Just under 40 per cent of sewer blockages in the region last year came from foreign objects including nappies, sanitary items, paper towels, 'flushable' wet wipes, food scraps and oil.
Wet wipes were becoming so problematic in the UK, the government considered banning them.
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