Council's Civic Hall handball as Town Hall staff asked for options

BALLARAT councillors have pushed responsibility for developing options for the Civic Hall site back to council officers.

After a Sunday councillor workshop on the controversial issue, staff have been asked to present a range of potential developments for the Mair Street site as soon as possible.

Ballarat mayor John Burt said yesterday the briefing highlighted the site’s history, the previous development proposals and the community consultation results.

“Councillors were united in their acknowledgement of the importance of the Civic Hall precinct to the community and the Ballarat CBD,” Cr Burt said.

“It is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to create a new ‘beating heart’ for the city and our community of today and future generations.

“We developed a set of principles that will inform the direction of this project.

“However, the starting point for all of our work is the community’s feedback from last year as part of the Civic Hall 2012 process.

“The next step will be for the officers to present options which satisfy our principles and, importantly, determine how council can most effectively deliver on the community’s aspirations for the site.

“Council has instructed officers to finalise this work as soon as possible.

“Council looks forward to continuing to work with the community on this project.”

Ballarat Residents and Ratepayers Association president Denis Bateman said his group wanted to work with the council to reach a “sensible solution”.

“We need to get something done,” Mr Bateman said.

He said the BRRA just wanted to see a viable precinct masterplan.

“We don’t care if it’s demolished or it stays but it can’t just be left sitting there,” Mr Bateman said.

“We need to do something, we can’t just keep sitting around referring it to committees.

“We’d really like to get something happening, the sooner the better.

“We’ll just be critical if nothing is done.”