BALLARAT City Council will tonight again consider the future of the Civic Hall.
The long running debate was seemingly resolved last month when the council voted six to three to begin preparations for the hall's demolition.
However, a motion to rescind that decision has been put forward by Cr Belinda Coates, meaning the council will again hear submissions on the hall's future.
The issue is heavily divisive. A survey conducted by the council – at a cost which was disputed this week – showed more than 70 per cent of residents preferred rehabilitation and reuse of the current hall.
The same survey showed more than 50 per cent of residents would support the hall's demolition, if it was not to be replaced by council offices.
The one sure resolution is that Ballarat residents want the council to take action. The Courier believes demolition provides the best opportunity to create an enticing new space in Ballarat's CBD.
There remains a strong and determined push to retain and reuse the hall. At the September council meeting, the majority of the 50 submissions heard were against demolition.
A petition to be tabled tonight with hundreds of signatures is another example that not everyone would be happy should the council tonight vote down Cr Coates' motion.
The city cannot continue to tread water on this decision a decade after the hall was closed
This, however, is not a popularity contest. Councils are elected by the people to make the decisions which they believe are best for the city and all the people who live here.
The city cannot continue to tread water on this decision a decade after the hall was closed.
The motion from Cr Coates must be backed by substance which shows the council acted inappropriately during its initial considerations or it will be seen as simply another stalling tactic.
Even if the majority of councillors stand firm on their original decision, it is unlikely to end the process.
The matter could yet be taken for further determination at the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal, another opportunity for those involved to stress their points of view.
Tonight's meeting marks another chapter of a story in which all Ballarat residents are seeking a happy, and final, ending.