Council to meet over VicRoads 'game changer'

BALLARAT City Council will “seriously reconsider” what to do with the Civic Hall following yesterday’s announcement that VicRoads’ headquarters will be relocated and built next to the hall if the state government is re-elected.

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Speaking to The Courier after the announcement by Premier Denis Napthine, mayor Joshua Morris said the announcement was a “game changer”. 

“We as a council need to reconsider the current process that we’re going through in light of this announcement,” Cr Morris said. 

“It changes the game in regards to what the future of the Civic Hall will be.”

The mayor said he had scheduled a meeting with fellow councillors, to be held tonight, to reassess the best options for the Civic Hall. 

“This announcement certainly does open the door for us to consider the adaptive reuse of the hall for community use,” Cr Morris said.

Cr Morris didn’t rule out knocking the hall down, but alluded to the fact a redevelopment would work best.

Cr Morris praised the state government’s announcement and said that Ballarat would benefit from the relocation of the headquarters. 

Committee for Ballarat chair Judy Verlin also backed the announcement, adding that the future of Ballarat’s CBD depended solely on central jobs. “The Committee for Ballarat, for a long period of time, have campaigned for the activation of that site,” Ms Verlin said. 

“It is critically important that we get a government agency located in the centre of the city.

“It is crucial to our city’s future and is a very welcome announcement.”

Save the Civic Hall secretary Merle Hathaway also welcomed the announcement. 

Ms Hathaway said it was good news that the land next to the Civic Hall was being used, adding it was important for the sustainable future of the Civic Hall. 

She said it was important that the council now made a decision on the hall’s future. 

“It would be extremely embarrassing not to restore the hall when it may be sitting next to a new building,” she said.

patrick.byrne@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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