DESPITE public submissions questioning Civic Hall’s heritage status at a council meeting on Wednesday night, the building is not on the Victorian Heritage Register.
More than 150 people attended the six-hour meeting to hear Ballarat City Council vote on, and eventually approve, a recommendation to knock the hall down.
The majority of the crowd were in favour of keeping the hall, with some speakers questioning the council’s commitment to local history.
Public submissions from Ballarat Heritage Watch and the Art Deco and Modernism Society among others urged the council not to repeat the mistakes of the past by knocking down historical buildings. But despite its value to parts of the community, the hall is not heritage-listed and attempts to include it on the register have failed.
A report handed down by Heritage Council Victoria in 2011 acknowledged the building was culturally important to Ballarat, but said it did not meet any criteria for appearing on the heritage list.
“The committee finds that the Civic Hall does not reach the threshold for state significance,” it said.
Criteria for being added to the list include “importance to the course, or pattern of Victoria’s cultural history” and “importance in exhibiting particular aesthetic characteristics”.
That report came after an earlier request to include the site on the heritage register was knocked back in 2010.
After making its decision, the heritage committee referred the recommendation and submissions to the City of Ballarat for consideration.
Mayor John Burt this week said the area around Civic Hall had a heritage overlay, but the hall itself had no heritage significance.