THE Ballarat City Council’s bid to knock down the Civic Hall is likely to wind up before the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal where it could cost ratepayers tens of thousands of dollars in legal fees and experts.
If an application to demolish the building goes ahead it will almost certainly be appealed, after disappointed community members vowed to fight the decision all the way to the VCAT.
The council has not stated what costs could be involved with a VCAT appeal.
But SED Advisory partner Brett Davis said it could potentially be in the realm of tens of thousands of dollars.
Mr Davis said it was too soon to speculate about what level of resources the council would need during the appeal process, but it was not uncommon for costs to fall in the realm of $30,000 to $60,000.
“It comes down to how the council chooses to resource the appeal process,” he said.
“With any decision of this scale and nature, you would assume they would want to resource it adequately. A good planning outcome is dictated by a good planning process.”
The council voted 6-3 in support of the hall’s demolition after hearing from almost 50 members of the public during a marathon six-hour meeting that ended in the early hours of yesterday morning.
Ballarat Heritage Watch chair Anne Beggs-Sunter said the group was determined to do everything to stop the demolition and it wasn’t alone.
“I know there are other people... there was so much passion in the room,” she said.
“We’re determined to fight this all the way.”
Council staff will now prepare and lodge a planning application for the hall to be knocked down.
Once complete, it will be advertised for a six-week period for the public to make written submissions.
If the council votes to approve the demolition permit, anyone can lodge an appeal with VCAT within 21 days.
The council allocated $8 million in its 2013-14 budget to redevelop the hall into a community hub.
With demolition costed at up to $2 million, this leaves at least $6 million within its budget for delivering “a range of potential projects”.