LETTERS TO THE EDITOR

OLD AND NEW: One reader believes there is nothing wrong with preserving the old when looking to move forward in Ballarat.
OLD AND NEW: One reader believes there is nothing wrong with preserving the old when looking to move forward in Ballarat.

Appreciate the old when moving forward

I WONDER if I am all alone in my thoughts and hopes for the future of Ballarat?

When reading Ms Dore's letter regarding the need for 'progressive development' for our beautiful city, I couldn't help but pick up on the aggressive nature of the narrative, i.e. 'redevelopment', 'sufficiently progressive', 'forward thinking', 'transformational' and 'modernising' being catch-phrases throughout.

Is it wrong to want a Ballarat that isn't quite so progressive? A Ballarat that doesn't see modernisation as the panacea for future opportunity? To appreciate what it is to belong to a beautiful, culturally-significant, steeped-in-history city and embrace the differences between it and Ms Dore's comparison, Bendigo?

I look upon the latter with a certain disdain. It has sacrificed much of its grand, 1800s architecture with compromise that sees often ugly, mostly bland office edifices pushing their way into the streetscape like bully-boys taking over a game of football. It isn't the vision I hold for Ballarat.

Am I being narrow-minded to believe that any redevelopment of the railway station should provide a gateway to our city that will be sympathetic to its historical value, as well as the surrounding streetscapes?

The term 'modernising our city' used by Ms Dore sends chills down my spine and isn't aligned with my humble vision of this lovely, livable city. But as stated earlier, perhaps I am alone in these thoughts; though I suspect my rosella family may share and hope for them, too.

- Deb Turner, Mt Helen

It’s time to look at the state of roads, cars

HAVING read your story regarding "hoons" it was enough for me to write and let you know what we think of Victoria and Ballarat roads and drivers.

We wrote to VicRoads a week ago and have had no reply to our complaint. The fact we have resided in Ballarat only eight months from the UK, it would be fresh eyes monitoring the network and behaviours of Victorian roads and drivers.

The first complaint was the abysmal state of many roads ranging from minor country right through to the main road from Ballarat to Melbourne.

The latter is a disgrace in many parts for a first world country. Numerous rough surfaces and sumps are very common with little skill in repairs or care.

Many country roads can be even worse or dangerous with areas of tar sliding away from the side of the road and creating sumps. This is almost entirely poor workmanship and a cheap base and thin layer of asphalt.

Our second complaint was noted more at this time of the year in winter evening driving. We calculated that around 20 per cent of vehicles are not roadworthy, a safety concern which has been ignored by VicRoads. The main issue is at least one-in-five vehicles do not have both headlights functioning, or a replacement bulb has been inserted incorrectly causing full beam distraction.

If you have at least 20 per cent of vehicles with defective lights and then add on other safety defects unseen because of no RWC being needed after purchasing a vehicle, then you have many more unsafe vehicles which are a danger and cause accidents or worse on Victorian roads.

Surely all vehicles should be required to obtain a RWC at least every few years as many first world countries enforce this every year on vehicles older than three years.

We hope VicRoads can actually take safety seriously and respond to the public who pay a high road tax which does not seem to be spent on what we need.

Lastly, it is evident there is a subculture in this state who are showing total disregard for other motorists in tailgating, hooning and road rage anger.

- Alan Gray, Lucas