North Ballarat plan: Investment must be fairly distributed
Very interesting article in the Saturday edition of The Courier which read well but failed the test of reason. No one could challenge the concept of the benefits which might flow from a theoretical extension of the sporting arenas which surround Mars Stadium and the Basket Ball facility in Norman Street onto the old MBJ factory site, and it is quite within the realms of reasonability that the North Ballarat Football Club, at least, might covert such an outcome.
However the concept that such an outcome could, or should, be seen or used as a bargaining chip in the resolution of what is purely a dispute over the terms and conditions of a Commercial Property lease by a very senior, and at least at face value very wealthy Club, is another thing altogether.
The fact that the NBFC own and operate a Sports Club, Gaming Venue and Function Centre stands as a credit to the foresight of the forefathers of the current Board more than it stands to the credit of the incumbents. However nothing associated with the past provides any right for today’s board to be trying to insist on a deal requiring the community acquisition of a multimillion dollar property and the expenditure of further millions of dollars building and developing facilities for their benefit.
Without question the M B John site is perfectly located and probably should be incorporated into the surrounding Community property but it is privately owned and unless North are prepared to buy it, then it is simply out of reach, and it may not even be for sale.
The expectation the Council should, or even could, provide funds for such a venture without the necessity for full evaluation, budgetary provision and design as it is suggested is a demonstration of a grandiose expectation on the part of the North Board to the effect that their club is better than all the other football and sporting clubs in the city, and pays no regard for the many requests from those other clubs for improvements to their own facilities.
Ballarat Council spends millions of dollars every year on improvements to sporting facilities but the task has to be attempted based on an even handed plan to ensure as wide a spread as possible, not on just on one wealthy club in exclusion.
As a Councillor, my view is that it appears football has been getting the lion’s share of the funds for some time something which must be reviewed but that said pressure for example on the Alfredton Ovals is at breaking point and must be reviewed and there is at least a case for a brand new sporting facility in the emerging area of Miners Rest.
Unbudgeted money cannot be expended just on, and at the behest of, one club.
Cr Grant Tillett North Ward, City of Ballarat
Transport plans must be tempered by realistic expectations
Great announcement this week from the Minister for Public Transport, Jacinta Allan, about extra VLine coaches to and from Ararat to connect with the trains. As usual there is negativity surrounding any fantastic news with some saying they would prefer trains.
The Liberals undertook zero infrastructure projects in their last term of office and before that shut regional towns down by removing their public transport networks. There’s a lot of work to do to get increased rail up to Maryborough and Ararat let alone beyond those major regional hubs. There’s simply no point extending services when there is the clapped out bottleneck infrastructure in and around Ballarat. Until that’s cleared up - by creating dedicated separate lines for passenger and freight rail - any additional services won’t be delivered on time or effectively and this is what the Andrews Labor Government is building for future capacity.
Michael Ross Monaghan, Stawell