DEBATE on the Civic Hall was put on hold as the Ballarat City Council paused to consider refugees, a central Ballarat phone tower and a new Aldi supermarket.
Forty-seven people attended last night’s meeting to speak on the Civic Hall, and many more supporters were there clapping and cheering them on.
But at least four people in the room were there for other business.
Ballarat refugee advocate Kath Morton came to speak in favour of a motion declaring Ballarat as a Refugee Welcome Zone – and she was prepared to wait all night to have her say.
It was her first time in the council chamber, and she found herself giving her presentation before a gallery of more than 100 people.
“When I rang to register the young lady said it would be very, very late,” Ms Morton said. “I said ‘I’m passionate about it so I’ll wait’.”
She waited for over an hour before mayor John Burt called to defer the lengthy public question session to hear other items.
The council voted unanimously in support of the refugee initiative, after councillor Belinda Coates said it demonstrated the city’s commitment to human rights, social cohesion and anti-racism.
A planning application by Crown Castle Australia to install a 50-metre telecommunications towers at 4a Holmes Street was also passed.
The tower will be relocated and expanded among residential properties in central Ballarat.
Councillor Joshua Morris said the council was committed to providing support for telecommunications infrastructure.
Councillor Vicki Coltman also said the planning application was for the greater good of the community.
“Nobody wants a tower in your backyard ... unfortunately we need to have them,” she said.
An application by discount supermarket chain Aldi to open its fourth Ballarat store at Wendouree was also approved.