Well served by volunteers
In reply to Brenton Smith (Courier 8th May), I was of the understanding that Ballarat City was responsible for a 20 km radius which I presume takes in the greater part of Ballarat and its surrounds. This area is also well-supported by the volunteer brigades of Wendouree, Sebastopol, Ballarat and Buninyong. Mr Smith also failed to mention that a new 24 hour fire station is being built in Ballarat West which will be manned by career staff only; no volunteers. Surely with the increased manning levels that have been applied in the past months, this will continue to give the regional city a professional and reliable fire service. The CFA is one fire service.
Ian Ireland, volunteer firefighter, Ballan.
I started reading Brenton Smith's opinion in The Courier and strongly disagree with him. Our CFA volunteers do a wonderful job. How many people would suddenly leave their Christmas dinners, get out of bed in the middle of the night, leave family celebrations etc to race to the call to fight a fire. CFA members carry pagers on them so they are instantly alerted to a fire and their response is quick. Because most CFA units are country-based, traffic is usually not a problem. You will find most volunteers will drop everything at the drop of a hat to fight fires. They do extra training, fight fires, attend accidents and all they receive is thanks from the grateful people they help. I cannot praise our CFA volunteers highly enough for what they do, and I think it is a disgrace what the Andrew's government is doing to them.
Jenny Shell, Meredith.
Unlooked at inland link
It is to the detriment that events of importance like Groovin the Moo and other cultural and social events, tourism, employment, education, medical treatment, commercial and business opportunities, rail freight and the economies of Geelong, Ballarat, Maryborough, Castlemaine and Bendigo cannot gain significant economic benefit. Even though V/line puts on extra services, the fact that patrons to Groovin the Moo have to travel from Ballarat and Geelong to Melbourne to then make a connection to Bendigo is a disincentive and increases travelling times to the event. The re-establishment of the Bendigo - Ballarat - Geelong rail link would increase audiences sizes and participation levels in tourism, business, education, employment and access to medical treatment and rail freight. It is regrettable that the Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan and Premier Daniel Andrews are totally impervious to the idea of the Bendigo - Ballarat - Geelong rail link, and you would genuinely have to doubt their commitment to regional Victoria based on their lack of response, initiative and motivation.
Scott Ramsay, Strathdale
Public service hub needs closer scrutiny
It is pleasing to read that finally the state Labor government has a proposal to assist with activation of the Civic Hall site. If I were to prioritise the possible agencies to be relocated to the Civic Hall site, my view would be that Regional Development Victoria should be first, and then Vline, as both have a supposedly regional focus. Such a move would remove the perceived Melbourne-centric view of politics.
It is claimed that there will be 1000 jobs in the government's relocation-to-Civic-Hall proposal - 400 existing coming from the Glasshouse building in Doveton Street and a further 600 jobs transferred from Melbourne. If the Labor government is toying with a plan to reduce the public service, as will the LNP if elected how can our Labor politicians suggest there are 600 jobs in their proposal for Ballarat. The state government is quoting 500 new construction jobs for the Civic Hall site. The Civic Hall site development requires a Ballarat builder to get the contract for any chance of new jobs, and they, too, have a majority of specialist construction crews.
With regard to parking, the existing two-level car park at the Civic Hall will be demolished if this proposal comes to fruition. The government plans to build a 350-space car park there for staff only! If there are to be 1000 jobs, where will the other 650 staff park their cars?
Well, they won’t be able to park at the rail station because the government with that proposal is reducing the number of car parks for commuters! Where will they, then, park?
Given the parking needs of the 650 civic hall site staff, the current public parking requirement for a further 300 public spaces, not to mention the newly constructed open air car park of Armstrong Street at the Civic Hall to be torn up, the 800 rail commuter parks estimated for the future longer term, and the car parks to compensate for those lost in the proposed realignment of Mair Street, there needs to be a multi-storey car park with at least 2000 spaces. We need a real plan now!
I would really like to say how good the Civic Hall proposal is, but I can’t. This is another example of so called planning ‘on the run’ without a strategic approach looking at the big-picture needs for Ballarat’s long-term future!
I would ask the so called leaders of our community to carefully examine the state government’s proposals before fawning all over them!
The day that the three tiers of government work with the private sector and our community will be the day that progress and a positive future for Ballarat emerges, particularly for our CBD.
Ron Egeberg , Soldiers Hill