Art auction to raise funds for Save the Civic Hall legal challenge

A COMMUNITY action group remains determined to halt the Civic Hall’s demolition and is already raising money to fund an expensive legal battle against the City of Ballarat.

Up to 20 artists and art collectors have given their support to the campaign by donating works towards a Save the Civic Hall art auction on January 25.

Some early artworks have also been offered, including a still life by 1940s war artist PJ Gare.

Save the Civic Hall secretary Merle Hathaway said the group was working with a team of pro bono legal advisers but there would still be considerable costs.

The art auction was one of a number of fundraising events planned, she said.

The council upheld a decision to demolish the hall in October and a planning application is expected be lodged this month.

Ms Hathaway said $30,000 to $40,000 could be needed to oppose it in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal.

But she said there were strong grounds to fight the demolition in VCAT.

“VCAT has never allowed a building to be demolished when there are no plans for the future,” Ms Hathaway said.

“You’ve got a hall which is totally useful. It’s the biggest hall that we’ve got and it seats 1500 people.”

Artist and Save the Civic Hall fundraising committee member Dawn Lim said she thought of staging an art auction after a similar event in the Pyrenees last year.

Ms Lim said she would donate two of her own paintings to the auction.

“I wanted to support the cause,” she said.

“I don’t see why it should be pulled down when you’ve got no plans for it for a number of years.”

The art works will be displayed at B1 galley in Camp Street from 9am on Saturday, January 25, for a silent auction.