THE fate of the Civic Hall will be decided on September 25, but the community should prepare for more public consultation after a decision is made.
The Ballarat City Council meets tonight, but won’t use the opportunity to end the decade of debate over the controversial Mair Street site.
It will hold off until the last council meeting of the month on September 25.
The council also confirmed yesterday there would be public consultation after a decision was made – but the exact focus would be determined as part of council’s decision.
Mayor John Burt announced earlier this year the new council would make a decision on the hall at one of its September meetings.
“We will please some and we will offend others, but a decision will be made,” he said.
Yesterday, he told The Courier that the procedure was still going ahead.
“I would anticipate the 25th is the day it would come before the chamber,” he said.
Under the council’s 2013 budget, the precinct is set to receive $8 million in funding for redevelopment into a “community hub”, with construction on the redevelopment to start as early as 2014.
The most basic paint-and-polish would see the hall refurbished and restored to a functional state.
At the other end of the scale, the existing building could be demolished and redeveloped into a mixed-use precinct, including retail, commercial, residential and hotel accommodation.
The Committee for Ballarat is calling for the hall to be knocked down to make way for a large-scale commercial development that could bring hundreds of jobs to the central business district.
But in a poll by The Courier last month, 63 per cent of online readers wanted to see the building restored.
Several residents accused the council of failing to listen to the community during a fiery public question time on August 14.
Ballarat Civic Hall Facebook page founder Victoria Wardlaw said the participants in the council’s community workshop process had responded with overwhelming support for retaining the building.