The City of Greater Bendigo this week embarked on its self-professed biggest community consultation process of the past 15 years as it seeks to define the next 30 years and the best way forward.
Credit needs to be given to the organisation for seeking to enlist the public's support in such an important exercise, and no one should need to be reminded that any consultation process is only as good as the breadth of engagement it achieves and the ideas and suggestions it captures.
If we dare to look back 30 years to the heady days of the early 1990s, we would remember a much smaller, even sleepier Bendigo that was on the cusp of shaking off many of its country quirks and launching towards becoming the thriving cosmopolitan regional city we all know and love today.
A 30-year journey cannot happen without interaction with other levels of government upon whom we rely for funding to deliver major infrastructure and the hopes and dreams of our city and the surrounding region.
The list of major projects completed since 1991 include improved and upgraded rail services to and from Melbourne, the overhaul of our water supply and storage system, new and improved roads, a new hospital, the Bendigo Bank headquarters, new schools, sporting fields and swimming pools.
La Trobe University has expanded and the Bendigo TAFE precinct looks vastly different to what it did 30 years ago.
We have entirely new suburbs, we have the NBN and mobile phones, expanded retail facilities to appreciate and computers have become an integral part of our lives.
It's difficult to predict where technology might lead us throughout the next 30 years, but we must be agile and quick to adapt to the opportunities that will inevitably arise.
The prosperity that has allowed countless industries to expand and thrive over the past 30 years, and before, will hopefully allow the next generation of success stories to unfold.
Bendigo's trajectory is looking up and we should all feel encouraged by what the road ahead has to offer and our shared opportunity to be part of a future that promises so much.
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