THE Civic Hall could be knocked down within 12 months if the Ballarat City Council votes in favour of its recommendation to demolish the building.
The councillor-led recommendation calls on council officers to prepare a planning application for the total demolition of the hall.
Mayor John Burt said ratepayers were tired of their money being used to fund investigations into the site.
“We need to make a firm decision about the hall itself, whether or not the hall stays or goes,” he said.
“It’s going to provide the residents of Ballarat with the opportunity to develop something that is unique for Ballarat.
“We’re limited in the hall being there.”
Under the council’s 2013 budget, the precinct is set to receive $8 million in funding for redevelopment into a “community hub”, with construction to start as early as 2014.
Cr Burt said the cost of demolition could be $2 million.
But, if it was approved, he expected there would be opposition to the proposal and it would likely end up before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.
“It could be nine to 12 months before anything starts,” he said.
As part of Wednesday’s vote, the council will also consider endorsing a long-term vision for the site, which focuses on developing a ‘heart’ of Ballarat.
Cr Burt said the vision, identified by the majority of councillors through their workshop processes, included a significant extension to the Ballarat Regional Library, new community, youth and outdoor spaces and a future development site for the private sector.
The community should prepare for more public consultation after a decision is made.
The application for demolition would first be considered through a formal public process allowing community participation.
The Committee for Ballarat has called 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.