SAM AND DUE DILIGENCE
The projected economic benefits of a new building for the Shepparton Art Museum (SAM) are detailed in the Executive Summary and are modelled at a slightly higher rate than that of the Benalla Art Gallery.
In my opinion SAM modelling using data from Benalla Art Gallery to back up its assumptions is erroneous. The comparison of the Benalla Art Gallery to a new SAM at its new location is like comparing apples with pears, they are so different. They will both be on the edge of an ornamental lake and that is where the similarity ends. The Benalla Art Gallery is part of the Historic Botanic Gardens; site of the rose festival, the War Memorial and ‘Weary’ Dunlop bronze statue unveiled by Prime Minister, John Howard. The gallery hosts original works by legendary Australian artists, Arthur Streeton, Frederick McCubbin, Fred Williams and Sidney Nolan.
I had a one-on-one meeting with councillor Chris Hazelman (council’s representative on the SAM Advisory Committee) on November 18, 2015. At that meeting the councillor admitted to not having read the 31 page Executive Summary nor the 209 page Final Report ‘Business Case for a new art museum in Shepparton’ at that time, because as he said he was not a councillor on May 19, 2015 when council voted to accept the findings of these reports. However, he has been part of a council that has spent ratepayers money in the pursuit of state and federal funding for the project. I did send an email to him via his council email address on March 6, 2016 with attachments that pointed out issues I had concern about.
I don’t believe he or any of the councillors that voted to spend $1M to commence the design and investigation works for the proposed new SAM have completed a proper due diligence on the project or the report that supports it. Furthermore, is the borrowing of funds a method of committing future councillors into the decision taken by the current councillors?
I urge all residents to provide feedback via the council web site at greatershepparton.com.au/council/consultation/draft-budget-2016-2017 and also exercise their democratic right at the upcoming council elections to vote out the current councillors.
FUTURE PUBLIC TRANSPORT
It’s great the first stage of GV Heath redevelopment has been funded. What we now need to do is to ensure that the vast majority of the funds are expended on health matters and not excessive car parking for current and the 650 additional staff positions.
Greater Shepparton needs a transport strategy that prioritised walking/cycling paths with secure bicycle parking and shower and change facilities at the hospital for those arriving by bicycle, and some sort of reward for those who elect to walk or cycle.
The hospital, as does the whole of Greater Shepparton, needs an efficient and sophisticated public transit system that links seamlessly with the city public transport system.
The public transit system needs to revolve around some form of electric bus system, that links with a ‘park and ride’ process whereby people would drive to pre-determined locations on the edges of the city and be taken to whatever location they choose in the city, including the hospital. The service would be frequent, 10 minute intervals throughout the day and less during the night. The public transport facilities at the hospital should be covered and centrally located to allow easy access for the public.
We need a transport strategy that sees public transit as the absolute priority, one that articulates the convenience, safety and the broader environmental benefits of living this way.
Applying 20th Century thinking at the hospital with GH Health going it alone with (a multi-storey carpark) would be a temporary solution, but ultimately lead to more traffic difficulties, bringing more staff and public frustrations. We need an integrated approach.
CAN’T BE TRUSTED
Election 2016 is now in full swing. Over the coming weeks we will be bombarded with promises from the ALP and counter promises from the LNP. By the end of it the public will be thoroughly bamboozled by both parties. On July 2, voters won’t be sure who they can trust as billions of dollars in promises roll off the lips of the main contenders.
Politics is a dirty game in which the main party candidates will make outlandish promises, and the day after the election they will have forgotten they ever said such-and-such.
It’s time for the public to turn away from both the ALP and LNP. Past history proves that we can’t trust them. It’s time to give independents and minor parties a go. If it weren’t for compulsory attendance at a polling booth the public would stay away in droves.
We have seen it here in the recent QLD council elections wherein candidates said they would keep rates to the CPI or a rate freeze, only to vote for an increase at the first council meeting. With a four year term ahead of them they think the public will forget how deceitful they were. The ‘feds’ want a four year term too and next year will see a referendum to achieve that.
It’s time to say no to the lot of them.