The recent announcement of a masterplan to cover the Railway Station precinct is great news for the city.
Too long neglected, the railway and yards have massive tracts of underused space and is a main entry point to the city which, with increased car parking, access and the regional rail link will make visiting by rail a more viable option for tourists.
The Eastern Oval lies two blocks from the Bridge mall and around 100 metres from the railway station yet it was inexplicably left out of the Ballarat CBD Strategy released not too long ago.
With the council pushing for Ballarat to host AFL matches and a major events precinct at a windswept Eureka Stadium, a significant chance for the CBD will be taken away.
Why not have the major events precinct in the railyards between the rail station and the Eastern oval, which could host AFL matches?
This is the sort of development that should be in the city centre and not on the fringes of town. If AFL matches are to be held at Eureka 'windswept' Stadium, or a concert in a 1000-seat theatre next to it, everyone will drive as there is no access by rail and no orderly parking.
It is evident (the result) when the Central Highlands Grand Final is played there, there are cars sprawled everywhere.
A train station would have to be built nearby, or major car park, otherwise everyone would drive to the venue and being out of the CBD people would have to catch a bus to the CBD and then another out to the venue.
A major carpark out at Eureka Stadium would only be used to its full extent during major events or AFL matches.
If the major events precinct and AFL games are played near the current rail station, the parking could be used daily by thousands of rail commuters and CBD patrons in addition to whatever events a precinct could attract.
The CBD strategy itself states that it aims to develop a city centre that has a thriving commercial base for the local and regional economy.
A major events precinct in the CBD would certainly help.