Council rejects bid to film inside Civic Hall

A community group’s bid to film the condition of part of the Civic Hall has been denied.

The Save the Civic Hall committee asked to access and film the lower hall to see if it could be repaired by volunteers and opened up to community events.

But the Ballarat City Council last night voted 6-3 against the initiative, which also proposed to make footage of the lower hall available to the public on the council’s website. Cr John Burt said he would not support the request, as he believed it was premature.

The council already had a process in place and it should be followed through, he said.

Cr Vicki Coltman said she had concerns about the filming aspect of the plan, as it raised questions about the community’s level of trust in the council and its staff.

“That says to me the community doesn’t trust the staff to go in and assess it,” she said.

Earlier, Cr Belinda Coates moved the motion and said it was a direct response to a specific community request.

It wasn’t about trust, she said, but about the fact the council had a responsbility to know the condition of its own assets. “For the sake of transparency we need to be fully aware of the current condition. We don’t know and the community doesn’t know,” Cr Coates said.

The Save the Civic Hall group put the idea to the council in December and chief executive officer Anthony Schinck said it could probably be arranged.

A spokesperson for the community group said offers of free labor and materials had been made by qualified local tradespeople, while Save the Civic Hall was working on a 12-month calender of potential events that could be held in the space.

Even if a planning application to demolish the hall is approved, an appeal in the Victorian Civil and Administrative Tribunal is likely to delay any action for 12 months.

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