I totally agree with the comments made by Michael McKenzie in the Bendigo Weekly, June 1.
The method of levelling rates is totally biased. By incorporating a wealth tax, just because you have saved your money and invested in a dearer property you are penalised severely.
I have lived in New South Wales and Queensland and this is the only time I have come across such an unfair method of rating properties.
Don’t be mistaken, your rates are just another tax by politicians, and at the moment every level of government and council is taxing you.
Have you ever taken the time to consider how many politicians there are for a population of 24 million people – equal to the population of London – in Australia?
As to the comments recently printed about what a great effort it was to limit council rate increases by around 5.5 per cent, it just points out how far removed from the real world this council is. As pointed out in the previous letter mentioned above, this is more than twice the rate of inflation. Hardly an endorsement of good financial management.
What I suggest to the people of Bendigo is ask your council nominees if they guarantee they will have a rating system that is fairer in its distribution, with any increases at less than inflation rate.
If they cannot give you this promise, vote them out, and get someone who can.
Hardly child friendly
It is hard to believe that a council that promotes itself as a child friendly city has scrapped plans for a children’s playground in Hargreaves Mall, which they removed five years ago with a promise it would be replaced.
Play areas promote social play where children can interact and communicate therefore learning social skills. They provide a place for parents or carers to take a break, have a coffee while the children are actively engaged in fun and exercise.
The dreary atmosphere of the mall would benefit from fun and colour and what better way than a play space.
I would gladly take my grandchildren where I could combine a shopping experience with a child friendly activity.
In child-friendly cities governments are required to show that its children are getting their fair share of resources. In our child friendly city we are removing an important resource for children and what makes it worse to be replaced by a sedentary activity aimed at adults.
In the 2010-11 budget $60,000 was set aside for a kiddies playground in the mall. Where did that money go?
It is a shame that Cr James Reade only had a half decent playground to offer the children he spoke to. Probably appropriate for a half decent mall.
I have heard many traders were not consulted on the no-playground-restore-video-screens options. As a frequent user of the mall I must say I never saw any evidence of lengthy consultation.
$200,000 spent on trying to get the screens to work. $100,000 spent on a series of one off events (plus the added expense of an events employee) could be better spent on our children with more positive results.
I urge the council to reconsider their decision and give the children back their playground.
Negativism and the arts
In your last issue, Dawn Colbourne chastised me for being negative about our council. Primarily about the renovation many years ago of the Capital Theatre and about the proposed Hangman’s Hall theatre.
To each of these charges I plead guilty.
As a member of the committee for a new performing arts centre in Bendigo I said, after careful study, that The Capital could not meet local future needs. Ross Ramus, an architect sent by the State Government to help locals in their planning, said likewise.
I resigned from the committee and put in a minority report. However, other committee members opted for The Capital leaving us with a small, costly, and non-functional performing arts centre.
The option of a new theatre with far more seats and a capacity for normal staging as well as for theatre in the round performances was rejected by the committee.
The Hangman’s Hall proposal is also seriously flawed. It is in the wrong place for the public, will have limited availability because of secondary college uses, is inflexible in design and will have very limited revenue earning capability. It will cost a mint to maintain.
It has inadequate dedicated car-parking, does not allow for inevitable later expansion, and it is highly doubtful that it could be built for the estimated $26 million even allowing for the use of poor quality materials and the omission of major necessary facilities.
Consultation with ratepayers has been perfunctory and inadequate. There has been no “exemplary openness” as claimed by Dawn. Furthermore, both councillors and ratepayers have been kept in the dark about major planning problems including a State Government architect’s canning of aspects of the theatre’s design.
Dawn, there is a world of difference between negativism to half-baked arts and other projects and to council’s incompetence, and negativism as a character flaw. I will leave it to ratepayers to decide on that one.
Neil Clark (Bendigo ratepayer)