Editorial: Cash splashes are acts of faith in our future

New Years Eve fireworks over Lady Bay. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

New Years Eve fireworks over Lady Bay. Picture: ROB GUNSTONE

WE will all spend the weekend thinking about the year that was and the year that will be.

As the fireworks illuminate the young and the young-at-heart seeing out the old year and welcoming the new, it is a good time to take a step back and think about where we live in this most beautiful and fertile part of the greatest state in Australia.

Warrnambool has seen change aplenty: both fast and gradual, good and bad.

Some of that change happened to us and some of it we caused to be.

But as the calendar clicks over to 2018, it is clear that the ball is firmly in our court.

How do we want our city to change in the years ahead? What do we want for our children, our families and our friends? And what will we do to make it so?

Today The Standard details a $87.5 million story of change for Warrnambool. An $87.5 million story of opportunity and long-term investment. An $87.5 million story of faith.

Spearheaded by the city’s five car retailers who have spent an estimated $30m building modern showrooms, creating jobs and bringing car buyers across the region to the city, the cash splash is a long-term, generational investment. They are investments that are risky given car dealers traditionally run at lower levels of profit than other retailers such as supermarkets.

They are investments that are acts of faith as they will take decades to pay off. Similarly, other investments are commitments to the city and its people.

Lyndoch Living has planning approval for a $22 million investment in a primary health centre, allied health services, pharmacy and upgrades to its residential hostels. So too Gillin Park for a $13 million development of 43 new independent living units and a new residents’ clubhouse.

The State Government’s commitment of $7.5 million earlier this year to complete a master plan for the $112 million stage two redevelopment of Warrnambool Base Hospital, part of South West Healthcare, should also be seen as an act of faith and acknowledgement from Spring Street of the healthy future of our city.

There are other developments and projects afoot. The Standard will cover these too as soon as possible. Some of these projects will not necessarily be seen as change for the better. But in an age of disruption, an age of where change is the only constant, we must attempt to understand and debate change and focus on our role in shaping it.