I refer to the letter in your edition of March 31 from John McCombe of Leongatha titled ‘Shire should scrap Bair Street work’.

Mr McCombe is quite wrong for three principle reasons.

  1. Mr McCombe does not understand the funding arrangements for these types of projects. It has been well publicised that the funding for the Bair Street works about to start is coming from state and federal grant monies. These grants are tied to a specific project, and cannot be used for some other purpose. Most of them have time limits by which the expenditure on that specific project must be completed. So, scrapping the Bair Street works does not save the ratepayers any money at all, and the grant money could be lost.
  2. The unfortunate slow down in our domestic economy makes it a perfect time to carry out the works, while a number of Bair Street businesses are closed or operating on a limited basis, and the traffic through the street is below normal densities. The works will cause less disruption if they are carried out during this unusually quiet period, and will be completed by the time the economy picks up again at other side of this slow down, enhancing the attractiveness of the street, and encouraging greater business activity.
  3. It is during such economically difficult times that the expenditure of government funds on infrastructure projects is necessary to keep economic activity (i.e. jobs) going. This sort of project is exactly the type that can be kept going through a medical shut down, and an injection of a large sum of money into the local economy at this time is exactly what is needed.

I look forward to the council expediting the Bair Street works for the good of the community at a time when it is most opportune to do so.

Nigel Hutchinson-Brooks, Ruby.