Council calls for $18m 'city heart' investment for Civic Hall site

THE Ballarat City Council is attempting a $10 million money grab for the Civic Hall development without a plan of how to spend the funds.

The Ballarat Regional Capital Plan calls for a state government investment of $10 million, on top of the council’s $8 million allocation, to establish a new “heart” of the central business district at the Civic Hall site.

But despite the $18 million price-tag, the council still doesn’t know what will go on the site.

Mayor Joshua Morris said the Civic Hall was an opportunity to re-energise an important space in the CBD, but he could not say how the funds would be utilised.

“We don’t know what is going to be on that site, but what we do know is with these monies there are opportunities that we could have,” he said.

“If the hall is demolished there is the opportunity to redevelop the site.

“If the hall wasn’t to be demolished that money could be used to refurbish the building and get it up to a usable standard.

“Those monies aren’t necessarily earmarked to say ‘this is exactly what it’s going to do’ but are going to be used within that site to re-energise it.”

The council voted in support of the hall’s demolition earlier this year but any planning application is likely to be contested through the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

Cr Morris said the council was at the very beginning of a process to find out what was going to happen on the site. 

“It’s a significant site to us and whether the hall remains or whether the hall goes our council is certainly committed to ensuring it becomes the heart of our city and that we gain the most benefit out of it,” Cr Morris said.

He said $10 million was a number the council could do a “significant amount of work with”.

“We have the very preliminary plan that came out when we moved the motion to consider demolition so

there is some ideas of what’s going to go on this site,” Cr Morris said.

“At this point we don’t know if the hall’s going to be demolished or not.”

The council is also asking the state government and opposition for $16 million for an $18 million multi-storey car park, without pinpointing a location for the

development.

Cr Morris said the Civic Hall site was a possible option.

“The fact the multi-storey car park is in there is just to say there is a need in Ballarat and if there’s the will of the state government to put

some money into that there are a variety of sites around the CBD to investigate,” Cr Morris said.

rachel.afflick@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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