COMMUNITY groups had the chance to put forward their 2019-20 budget requests at a City of Greater Bendigo meeting on Wednesday night.
Below are just a few of the projects seeking council support.
Jackson Adams was keen to introduce Bendigo to a new sport, "disc golf": golf rules, but with frisbees as balls and basketball hoops as holes.
Mr Adams sought council support to install baskets at a public park or reserve in Bendigo that would allow anyone to play.
He first discovered disc golf when driving through Geelong he saw an array of "random baskets".
He has now played for two years, with a group of 10-15 other Bendigo locals.
"It takes an hour to learn but a lifetime to master," Mr Adams said.
Mr Adams wanted others to discover the joy of disc-golf.
He said it would bring the community into parks, help connect the local community, add passive security by increasing the number of people walking through parks, and give people a chance to be part of a welcoming community.
It was also a great form of activity, which was suitable for all, including people with disabilities, young women, children and culturally and linguistically diverse communities.
Competitions seeks place in plans
This year was Bendigo's 94th Eisteddfod.
In 2018 the competition attracted 5000 people. Dance was held over 14 consecutive days, music over six weekends.
But policy changes have meant funding is difficult for long running events such as the Eisteddfod.
Read more: Bendigo Eisteddfod launches 94th year
Bendigo Competitions Society representative Faye Thomas said the group needed council support to retain the event.
Ms Thomas requested the group be included in the Bendigo Tourism Plan for 2017-2021.
The event supported local business, involved the arts and kept young people in the town, and brought money into the economy, she said. The group would also love their events to move back to the city centre's arts precinct, Ms Thomas said.
Too dark to walk your dog at Crook Street?
Monica Evers often sees dog-walkers with torches at the Crook Street park during winter.
She approached council to fund a simple solution - solar lighting - during its 2019/2020 public budget hearing.
Ms Evers was among the 13 people or groups represented at the public hearing for the proposed budget, which council endorsed in April.
Ms Evers said she had 40 signatures within an hour when she went out to the park one night about 7.30pm to take a poll about light.
Ms Evers approached the council with a possible solution for the darkness of the park during peak hours in winter: 50 watt, programmable solar lights, with security cameras attached.
"Families are arriving in pitch black and the kids are trying to play soccer in a dog park in this kind of darkness," Ms Evers said.
"It's the people that work, they go home, at six o'clock they grab the dog, they go down to the dog park."
Big plans for Heritage Attractions
The last tram to run to Eaglehawk might be the next big tram on Bendigo Heritage Attractions' restoration list.
Heritage Attractions chief executive Peter Abbott said that, if restored, the tram would be wheelchair accessible, and could go on display in Eaglehawk.
It wasn't in their budget submission, but this was one of the ideas Heritage Attractions was exploring, Mr Abbott said.
Pop-up pod trams were another. A tram pod created by Bendigo Tramways for Melbourne Airport has been a great welcome to the city, he said.
In Bendigo he saw opportunities to take a tram like that around to activate city spaces.
It followed the popular Royal Tram, which appeared beside Pall Mall during the Tudors to Windsors exhibition at Bendigo Art Gallery.
"We've had a great reaction to the royal tram that has appeared in Charing Cross," Mr Abbott said.
"The Bendigo community has seized onto something that's quite unique about Bendigo."
Mr Abbott said Heritage Attractions had been working hard to move off its gasworks site, which had meant deferring some capital project such as tram track restoration.
He said Heritage Attractions wanted to be considered as part of the future for the gasworks, even though they don't yet know what shape the plans would take.
"We obviously think the gasworks is a great opportunity for redevelopment and renewal," Mr Abbott said.
Once the gasworks future is decided or is being determined, we want to be a part of that opportunity.Peter Abbott, chief executive Bendigo Heritage Attractions
"Once the gasworks future is decided or is being determined, we want to be a part of that opportunity."
Mr Abbott thanked the council for continued upgrades of Bendigo's tram tracks.
Works to Pall Mall in June will be the first time these tracks have been restored since 1903, Mr Abbott said.
Friendship Committee asks for lateral thinking
The committee levelled for some council staff hours.
The Bendigo-Maubisse Friendship Committee hoped the council would be able to support them in this way in their work developing a friendship relation with the district in Timor Leste.
Committee member Barry Secombe said 13 hours of employee time would give the committee the administrative support and strategic planning they needed to make the group more effective.
There was $30,000 allocated to the group in the budget, Mayor Margaret O'Rourke said. The sum allocated had originally been higher.
Mr Secombe said the idea of using staff time was a lateral solution to the difference. The extra $20,000 would have gone to maintaining and continuing existing programs, particularly in the area of oral health, he said. Assisting in exchanges of oral health professionals is part of the committee's work.
Gully Friends seek to keep community in tow
The Ironbark Gully Friends received a "major win" in 2018/19 - $500,000 for a major project - but complications with soil contamination mean no stone has been turned.
The group plans to rejuvenate a neglected tract of land running through the suburb.
Committee member Ken Beasley said the group hoped for $40,000 for a feasibility study for a project at Prouses Road Recreation Reserve to keep the community engaged.
Mr Beasley said the money could be taken from the $500,000 "sitting in limbo".
The group has run several community engagement projects, such as tree planting days. But it was a challenge keeping the community engaged with a project like the Ironbark Gully rejuvenation when there were significant delays, Mr Beasley said.
"The challenge is keeping the community in tow with a project such as this when you have such significant delays," Mr Beasley said.
"We've been telling them for five years that this trail's going to happen, and hopefully it is going to happen."
Rates rise hits the regions farmers
Many of Bendigo's farmers have experienced a double hit over the past 18 months: drought conditions and rate rises.
Member of the Greater Bendigo Farming Advisory Committee Ross McKinstry said urban encroachment had created a false value in land prices, against which farmers' rates were valued.
His rates had risen 27 percent in the last 12 months.
Mr McKinstry asked council to look at where urban development was happening through its planning process, to avoid losing natural resources to development.
He also asked for council to approach the state government to say the rate review in process did not go deep enough into what's happening in the bush.
He said many farmers were struggling with the increased costs.
"Farmers are primary producers they're not land speculators, whilst valuations might go up, it's certainly not putting any more money in their pocket or the ability to pay," Mr McKinstry said.
"Farmers are primary producers, so they're at the start of the wealth chain. I believe the City of Greater Bendigo gains benefit through that wealth chain.
"If you damage the start of that chain that wealth is not added, which has an effect on the whole chain."
Mr McKinstry said the high costs could lead people to leave generational farms in the area over time and move further north. He had already seen lots of farmers destock in December because they simply didn't have water in the dams.
"Given the last 18 months we've experienced drought conditions, many farmers are struggling not only with rate rise, but also the ... costs," he said.
"Farmers certainly aren't looking for handouts. They're a pretty proud bunch, they certainly aren't looking for a free kick."
Trust seeks to protect miners' cottages
The Bendigo and Region branch of the National Trust would like miners cottages to be protected and developed.
Member Peter Cox encouraged councillors to extend the heritage advisory program to provide hands-on reports and information for new home buyers or renters.
Because the miners' cottages were a low entry price housing option this would be a way of encouraging people to consider those sort of buildings, he said.
Redesdale at a crossroads: stop, stay, spend
For many years the Redesdale community has worked hard to create a solid base. At the budget submissions, residents said they were at a crossroads.
Representing the community John Beurle said the town sought councils support in the development of the Redesdale precinct.
Read more: Redesdale residents ensure town can thrive
Mr Beurle said the plan's purpose was to attract more people.
For Redesdale, the plans would mean:
- Creating a kitchen with commercial catering capacity for new and large events in the hall
- Rationalising and renovating the hall storage and internal toilets
- Refreshing the front facade of the hall
- Creating a travellers rest in the hope tourists would stop, stay and spend
The community asked for $90,000 in funding from council, which would come on top of $40,000 from the Redesdale community.
"By doing so we believe we can become a case study for how community, council and collaboration can do some really great things," Mr Beurle said.
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