A FIERY council meeting on Wednesday night to decide the fate of Civic Hall was the culmination of several days of action.
More than 150 people packed into Town Hall to attend the meeting, largely to protest Ballarat City Council’s decision.
A second room set up with a video screen showing events in the chamber was opened to accommodate the large crowd.
Fifty people were registered to make public submissions, and question time was formally extended.
In the end the process took more than six hours, with the council only finishing its vote about 1.30am.
The major events surrounding the decision were:
• On Friday, a media conference was called by mayor John Burt and City of Ballarat chief executive officer Anthony Schinck to reveal a report recommending demolition of the hall. “We now need to make a decision,” Cr Burt said.
• On Sunday morning, supporters of Civic Hall held a rally outside the Mair Street building. About 140 people attended to hear speeches in favour of restoring the hall and reopening it to the public. Two councillors, Samantha McIntosh and Belinda Coates, attended the rally.
• By Wednesday afternoon, 50 people had registered to make public submissions at the 7pm council meeting.
• On Wednesday night, a choir sang “Let’s Save the Civic Hall” to the tune of Waltzing Matilda outside Town Hall as people arrived.
• Early Thursday morning, councillors finally voted on the report calling for demolition. Councillor Vicki Coltman joined Crs McIntosh and Coates in opposing the motion, however it was passed six to three to shouts of “shame” and “sack the council” from the crowd.
• By Thursday night, more than 200 comments had been left on thecourier.com.au making the decision one of the most talked-about stories of the year. Most people who left comments online were less sympathetic to the fate of the hall than those who attended the council meeting.