It’s not often that criticism of Bendigo’s Hargraves Mall and surrounds is fair, but in the season of the Winter Olympics there are excellent grounds for remodelling the precinct. Ice sculptured half-pipes, skating rinks and a curling venue are some of the great facilities missing from Bendigo during this international period.
Sure, and I mean this with all respect, it is difficult for council to organise a six meter high, 180 metre long curving channel of packed ice along a 170 metre stretch of laid brick, but Bendigo people are not quitters and to counter the overhang some form of ramp or high-bridge for traffic could be created with aid of a minor donation by the local Winter Olympic-fancier community – perhaps three million dollars would cover it.
For ice skating, everyone remembers the ice rink erected during last winter. It wasn’t made of ice and wasn’t a building, yet we still called it an ice rink and kids of all ages enjoyed their time shaking, falling and bumping into each other on the plastic sort-of covering. This should be brought back, expanded, and the buskers could provide the figure-skating music live, all for a gold coin donation.
Providing curling to Bendigo sounds more difficult, however this is a very simple problem to solve. Some people might be thinking that it would require the closure of the Schweppes Centre and forcing the Bendigo Spirit to play on the netball courts. Rather than this, what needs to be done is the total eradication of grass.
Recent temperatures have seen fit to aid the removal of grass from Bendigo, and considering the number of dry days we’ve seen there’s a good chance Bendigo could be classified as a dessert, equal in manner to the Antarctic. Therefore, with such a brittle environment, there is no reason possible for any curling authority to deny holding a Winter Olympic quality curling event at Bendigo Lawn Bowls Club – or if they use bore water, at Golden Square, or White Hills, or Bridgewater-on-Loddon.
With so many positive and clearly good ideas there is no reason Bendigo could not stage a Winter Olympic extravaganza. In fact, if Smiggin Holes was Australia’s nomination for the 2010 hosting rights, then why not Bendigo to host the Winter Games in 2018. Surely South Korea don’t fit the climate or infrastructure requirements like we do.