AFTER multiple blows to its ageing facilities, Ballarat Showgrounds must undergo a major revamp if it is to continue showcasing the region, civic leaders have argued.
A whole roof was ripped off one of the showgrounds’ sheds and flung into powerlines before hitting a car in wild winds last week.
Earlier this year, a P-plate driver veered his four-wheel drive off Howitt Street and crashed through sideshow alley, causing extensive damage to the showgrounds’ southern wall.
The facility, dating back to the 1930s, has been earmarked as part of a major events complex which will act as a gateway to the north of Ballarat and potentially build on the regular crowds it pulls every week.
Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society director Gerard Ballinger said Friday’s freak weather event caused significant damage to the shed, which is regularly used for events and by the Rotary Club of Ballarat South.
The club was forced to relocate its Ballarat Market stalls to another site on Sunday.
The council’s $80 million vision for a new sports and entertainment precinct for the city would involve a major overhaul of Eureka Stadium and the Ballarat Showgrounds.
But the plan would require state or federal government funding to become a reality.
“We’d like to see some new buildings, as would the general public,” he said.
“The Ballarat Agricultural Society would like a new precinct here – it would be marvellous if we could get some funding.”
Rotary Club of Ballarat South president Andrew Pipkorn said the club was keen to see a redevelopment of the showgrounds incorporating a major entertainment facility.
“We want to see the (Ballarat Market) continue in its current form and to do that we need space – both indoor and outdoor,” he said.
Ballarat City Council’s chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said the council was currently finalising a masterplan for the precinct in conjunction with the Agricultural society and other stakeholders.
“This process will help to finalise the future plans of the agricultural society, and identify what investment should happen on the site in the future,” he said.