Monday, 4 November 2013

The old buildings are more like a

rabbit warren than a hospital but they have served as a hospital for years now. I am sure you can imagine, probably even know, the sort of place I mean. It started life as a respectable set of buildings that were never quite big enough and successive governments added to them over the years, always with the same result.
There is a new hospital being built down the road. The site is controversial and the size is also controversial. The design is not what the doctors ordered. It will be a monument to political power games. Enough said.
Then there is the question of what to do with the old site. Some suggestions have been made in the past, including bull dozing the lot, but no real thought has been given to it. I have my own ideas about what should be done with it but nobody is likely to listen to me. (Yes, I will probably write another letter to the paper about it.)
But now there is a suggestion which, unfortunately, probably will be taken seriously. It will be taken seriously because sport is involved.
The proposal is that the buildings should be turned into housing for the city's bid to run the Commonwealth Games in 2030. The estimated cost of having the games here would apparently be two billion dollars - yes, I did say "$2bn".  And our sports mad government and society will probably thoroughly approve the idea. We can't afford it of course but that will be beside the point.
Please don't misunderstand me. I am not against sport. I know a lot of people are passionate about it - if mostly as spectators. That does not bother me.
What does bother me is the amount of money which is spent in the name of sport - or should I say misspent. We have already spent more than we can afford on an oval and a footbridge across a small "river" to access it - because spectators cannot be expected to walk a few hundred metres to get there. This is money which should have been spent on public transport projects. (The government is now claiming it cannot finish projects unless the federal government also puts money in. The projects could have been completed by now if the money had been there and the projects had been better planned.)
We desperately need to upgrade and extend our rail system but that is something that is getting even less attention now. All the road upgrades will not solve our problems unless we also get some of the heavy transport off the road. Arguments about "double handling" by rail are more to do with endeavouring to retain jobs in the heavy transport industry. It is, I am told, actually fairly easy and cheap to swing a container on to the back of lorry or truck after it has been carried thousands of kilometres by rail.
We need to spend that two billion dollars it would cost to have the games elsewhere. We need to spend it on projects that will bring long term jobs into the state, not just a short term, feel good sports event.
I know that most people think cake is nicer than bread but I think I would prefer to have the bread!


Judy Edmonds said...

I saw that on the news last night. I'm not sure what I thought about the design for the new hospital! And as for yet another boring Commonwealth Games - well, they are supposed to bring money into the country but my goodness, the amount that gets spent on them! I;m not sure that having them in Melbourne a few years ago did anything much for Melbourne except a temporary flurry of money going every which way (and a delightful but sadly temporary and expensive sculpture exhibition)

Anonymous said...

We saw the first of the buildings for the new hospital a couple of weeks ago ... looks something like a cross between a submarine and a blimp, which would not travel anywhere under water or in the air.

A lot of money would have to be spent to turn the old hospital into accommodation, and at least it could be used after the games, but most of the money would be spent elsewhere and much of it on facilities for a few elite sportspeople.