Civic Hall art auction raises thousands for legal fees

HUNDREDS of people turned out in support of saving the Civic Hall at the weekend. 

Camp Street’s B1 art gallery hosted a Save the Civic Hall art auction on Saturday, with many people taking the chance to snap up rare pieces of art while raising money to fund legal bills. 

Community action group, Save the Civic Hall, remains determined to halt the Civic Hall’s demolition and has devised a number of plans to fund their battle against the City of Ballarat. 

Save the Civic Hall secretary Merle Hathaway said the turnout was impressive.

“Even by 10am we’d had more than 40 people through the door and plenty of those people bidding on the pieces,” she said.

“It just shows that there are so many people in support of retaining the Civic Hall.”

The group raised almost $4000 from the art auction. Up to 20 artists and art collectors showed their support of the campaign by donating works.

Ms Hathaway said the group was working with a team of pro bono legal advisers, but there would still be considerable costs.

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.

Save the Civic Hall believes they have good grounds to fight the City of Ballarat at VCAT. 

Ms Hathaway told The Courier earlier this month of their VCAT plans.

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