Decision within sight: Ballarat's mayor set on resolving Civic Hall debate

BALLARAT mayor Josh Morris is set on reaching a final decision for the future of Civic Hall as one of his New Year’s resolutions for the City of Ballarat. 

The upcoming state election is also a major priority in 2014 for the council, as they seek to try and get funding commitments from both sides of politics for projects such as the Ballarat West Employment Zone.

Cr Morris said it was important the city took the opportunity to invest in job creation, particularly with the recent struggles in the manufacturing sector.

In regard to Civic Hall, he said the planning application to demolish the building would be lodged early next year. 

“My hope for the Civic Hall site is that in this coming year we have a resolution one

way or the other,” Cr Morris said.

He said the council would continue to aim at delivering its promised budget, which caused controversy among ratepayers last year due to a number of rate rises.

The council will take out a $25 million loan to help fund the Civic Hall precinct, an indoor 50-metre pool and the Ballarat Regional Soccer Facility. 

To pay for it there will be rate rises of 7.5 per cent, 6.5 per cent and 6 per cent planned over the next three years.

Cr Morris said the budget would be reviewed in future but the focus was now on achieving the projects that were promised.

“The most important thing is that we made a commitment on what we would do with the budget, it’s now up to us to deliver,” he said.

Cr Morris was also focused on ensuring events planned in the coming months, including the Cycling Australia Road National Championships, Ballarat Beer Festival and Ballarat Beat Rockabilly Festival, were a success.

“They are a huge opportunity to get tourists into Ballarat and show them

what we have to offer,” he said.

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