Letters to the Editor

Music brings the streets to life

I love music, especially live. On Saturday, I heard some wonderful live music, played with such skill and passion, I got goosebumps in spite of the very warm Minerva Room in which they played. These musicians probably don't think of themselves as professionals, and likely most had never played for a crowd before, but they were breathtaking. True, I was seeing the best of the buskers, but they were still buskers, and the beauty of their performances was universally a most pleasant surprise. Again and again, sponsors, hosts and audience members remarked at the way each act surpassed their expectations. After two hours of watching and listening, I'm sure I was not alone in wishing it could have gone longer. And I know I am not alone in urging the City of Ballarat to continue to support the arts, and give their citizens the platform to express themselves.

Over the last few years, but more notably the last six months, I have seen this city leap forwards. One could confuse The Lane for one of the famous Melbourne alleyways, chocked full of different food, music and people. Galleries feature eye catching local art, bars have live bands every weekend and more and more events are on, with most of them accessible to all due to their affordability. I have lived in Ballarat most of my life, and like most Ratties, I have been guilty of calling the place somewhat of a hole. No more! I am now so grateful to call this cultural hub my home. Ratty pride! Kind of sums up this beautiful, yet rough around the edges town.

Nicholas Keogh at the 2017 Australian National Busking Championships Ballarat Regional Finals.

Nicholas Keogh at the 2017 Australian National Busking Championships Ballarat Regional Finals.

Laura Wilson, Redan

NOT WORTH SELLING OFF

It is unacceptable that the state government and VicTrack seem intent on being short term property developers in Ballarat, rather than long term public transport and rail service providers. The Ballarat Station site is first and foremost a transport precinct. You cannot relocate elsewhere the transport-related activity but if Ballarat desperately needs another hotel, retail and car park development, most of the central Ballarat city area is suitably zoned for such purposes.

If demand existed in Ballarat for a development similar to that proposed at the station, someone would finance and build it. They should not require nor receive a subsidy in the form of public land of high current and future transport value being handed over, together with taxpayer funds, for private financial gain. The land must be retained and government funding provided for appropriate development of the station site.

The Committee for Ballarat and City Council have done a good job highlighting the long term benefits and need for a far better Ballarat rail service and lobbying for its funding. Improving the tracks and services to and from Melbourne is largely pointless if they cannot be easily accessed at Ballarat Station. The State Government will gain little credit for providing funding for the rail link if they persist with their short sighted and foolish property development on the station site. Wise community members have outlined far better and appropriate improvements for the site. The government and local parliamentarians need to step back from their folly and heed the wise advice being offered to them, before they destroy Ballarat's future rail transport potential.

Michael Menzies, East Geelong

Commissioner brings a profound message

The article, "Equality tops agenda" in The Courier, 16/03/17 moved me greatly. Ro Allen's statement, "When that act of suicide happens, I can't think of a person that wouldn't want to go back in time and tell that person they're love and accepted, so why don't we do that now?" was profound. I wish Ro Allen, Victorian Gender and Sexuality Commissioner, a wonderful and rewarding future.

Diane Collacott, Ballarat