Ross Mueller: This candidate is making a suggestion that if enacted could save ratepayers real money.


SHANE FOWLES, Geelong Advertiser

Spring is here. In our house we have started some serious spring cleaning.

The shed has never looked more organised. Now, I’m not saying that the shed is organised, but I am saying that it has never looked more organised.

When it comes to spring time it is always the appearance of change that promotes optimism for the fut­ure. Beautiful things arrive and the world has the potential to become a better place.

Proof can be found everywhere we look. In many forms and guises.

The Cats are playing better football. Tomorrow night is the preliminary final — the game that so many thought was beyond the Cats this year.

Last week the young players showed they were capable of writing their own history.

New names came to the fore and now the sharp end of the season is at their command.

If they play the same way they did against the Swans last Friday night, with the same commitment, the same truth, the same innovation, there is every reason to believe that they will keep playing until the big dance.

The new young players are holding their heads and blossoms are appearing everywhere.

Yes. You can smell the spring in Geelong, you can see it in the street.

Walking home from work the other night was an excursion into an extended twilight.

This is a beautiful time of year. The warmth in the evening air whispers that change is just around the corner. We are ambling out of a dark winter.

The human spirit reacts powerfully to the disinfectant of extra daylight. This dappled quiet reminds us that we love the beauty of the little details in our world.

Down at my local shopping centre there is another reminder of the season.

A larger than life face is shining out from a shop window. Yes, spring time has produced the first councillors’ corflutes of the new election season.

Earlier this week a new candidate raised his head from the garden bed of local government.

He produced a statement that befuddled all the deciduous old stagers of the past.

His bold offering was an idea. Not a slogan. Not an accusation. Not even a disparaging remark. This fresh council contender is not condemning anyone. No, this candidate is making a suggestion that if enacted could save ratepayers real money.

Welcome to the potential regeneration of spring time in Geelong.

George Ballas is a Brownbill Ward candidate.

Earlier this week the Geelong Advertiser reported that (if elected) Mr Ballas would call for “a feasibility study into moving City Hall’s operations into Target’s North Geelong base”.

This is exciting.

An idea like this is a subtle reminder that we can plant our own future. We can have a new culture in City Hall.

His suggestion is not overwhelming. It is not a ridiculous promise of thousands of jobs in six months.

He is not talking about vague and unmeasurable promises of worldwide publicity for the city. He is suggesting a feasibility study to save money.

The City offices need to be gathered and updated.

At the moment they have been spread like seeds on the wind. But building a brand new building worth a hundred million dollars does seem a little cavalier, especially considering the history of bullying and mismanagement that has led us to live in the Land of Administrators.

Ballas contends that the old North Geelong HQ of Target is going to be empty and it could be converted. He’s right.

We don’t own it, but we could lease it. They used to house over 800 people out there. It’s big enough and there is plenty of car parking.

This could be a renovation rescue for Geelong.

It may not be as exciting as a spanking new skyscraper, it may not even be feasible, but the act of the suggestion is refreshing.

This could be the first sign that Geelong is getting ready for a spring time of new faces, new ideas and true innovation.

We have lived through a long winter of discontent. We have become exhausted by the cult of personality and bickering and party politics.

The shift to North Geelong may not be feasible in the end, but the act of a fresh suggestion can be the catalyst for a change of culture.

— Ross Mueller is a freelance writer and director.