AFTER the Ballarat City Council’s decision to knock down the Civic Hall last week, the community is still divided on the call.
Some are thankful a decision has finally been made, but others think it should be revised.
Colin Matthews, a salesperson at Southern Cross Business Machines, supports the council’s decision.
“I’m from Christchurch so I know all about losing buildings that you don’t like,” he said.
“About 80 per cent of the buildings in the central area have been bulldozed... You quietly learn that buildings have a use-by date.”
Only having moved to Ballarat a few years ago, Mr Matthews doesn’t have the memories of the building that others do.
“Buildings exist more in people’s memories than actually by their usage,” he said.
“Someone might say don’t knock it down because they attended so much there, but actually haven’t been there for 15 years.
“I’m not from here so don’t have that connection to it.
“But it’s in the wrong place and it’s passed its use-by date.”
He said the building should be demolished as no-one was using it and that something useful should be put in its place.
“When people say keep it – it costs a lot of money to restore it and people aren’t usually prepared to donate to get it up and running again,” he said.
“Ballarat has plenty of nice historic buildings, but barely any new ones, apart from the warehouses in Sebastopol and Delacombe. It would be good for the city to have something new to attract other people to the city.”
Elizabeth and John Ryan from Mitchell Park said the council knocking down the Civic Hall is another step in destroying Ballarat’s heritage.
“It’s absolutely disgraceful – they took an old building away to put the Civic Hall up and now they’re going to do it again,” Mrs Ryan said.
“Look at Lydiard Street – they destroyed Lydiard Street,” she said.
John Ryan recalled what was at the Civic Hall site before it was erected.
“There was a Kings Car yard, a Beaurepairs Tyre Service and a Hay Market.”
Mrs Ryan said the location would have been perfect for a tourist information centre.
“It’s got lots of parking – caravans and trailers can be pulled in there,” she said.
“But council was just determined to pull it down – their mind was already made up.
“They’re taking down all our heritage and trying to modernise Ballarat... who wants a big modern construction site there?
“It’s absolutely disgusting, they need to leave our town alone.
“The town is supposed to be based on history.”
But Ballarat local Kim Mackay said she supported the council’s decision.
“I think it’s a good idea,” Ms Mackay said.
“A decision needed to be made – it has been going on far too long. It will be good to see something new in that area that will help to revitalise the city.”