Councillors don’t know how much money is needed to fix and maintain the city’s ageing and decaying infrastructure as they consider options for the Civic Hall precinct’s future.
Deputy mayor Samantha McIntosh called for a report on the costings at last week’s council meeting, declaring the city desperately needed to work out how it could “do better” to ensure its buildings were maintained to meet acceptable standards.
Cr McIntosh said the council should be aware of its requirements to maintain existing infrastructure when making a major decision on the Civic Hall.
But that appears unlikely to happen.
The councillors attended their final assembly meeting yesterday ahead of next Wednesday’s official vote on the hall’s future.
Councillors had a final chance to discuss the options before a decision is made in the open chamber next Wednesday.
Earlier, Cr McIntosh said the council had $1.5 billion of infrastructure and 300 kilometres of roads that needed attending to and maintaining.
But councillors still didn’t know how much money was required to look after its existing assets, she said.
The Ballarat pound, Civic Hall, fernery, showgrounds, airport precinct and Wendouree pool had all become liabilities instead of assets because they had not been maintained, Cr McIntosh said.
“Vision doesn’t mean ignoring what you’ve got,” she said. “Vision is about respecting what you’ve got.
“I think it’s imperative we have a full understanding of the requirements of our current assets in terms of maintenance and how a future spend will impact on that. If we’re looking at a major spend we need to look at what impact that has on the safety of our community using the facilities we have.”
Cr McIntosh said she didn’t support the council’s 2013-14 budget because she questioned its priorities.
The council’s biggest ever infrastructure budget, it included funding for an indoor 50 metre swimming pool, soccer facility and the Civic Hall.
Last month Animal Aid backed out of the deal to run the Ballarat pound due to occupational health and safety issues at the site, including no emergency fire exit and inadequate large animal accommodation.
In August, a whole roof was ripped off one of the Ballarat Showgrounds’ sheds and flung into powerlines before hitting a car in wild winds last week.