VicRoads proposal: traders hope for a boost to businesses

CBD traders have united in support of a new VicRoads headquarters with potential to flood the area with hundreds of additional shoppers and diners.

A number of business owners and operators in and around Mair and Armstrong streets yesterday voiced their excitement and were hopeful the proposed development would finally see the dormant Civic Hall site activated. 

Mitchell Harris Wine Bar owner and director Alicia Mitchell said a potential pool of 400 people could only benefit business and the wider development of the CBD.

She said investment in the area had long been held back by uncertainly.

“The fact they’re finally making some direction with the site, it gives you the ability to further plan your business,” Ms Mitchell said.

“It’ll help push more foot traffic, more people through the precinct.

“There’s catering opportunities, functions and events, the after-work aspect as well with people coming in to sample a beer or a wine after a hard week.”

Campana’s Fine Wine and Deli managing director Tony Campana said he looked forward to seeing the development, if and when it happened.

People were tired of the uncertainly about the Civic Hall site, but Mr Campana said he believed the VicRoads plan finally pushed the precinct along.

“I hope this goes ahead, which will allow the Civic Hall to tie in as part of it, which might mean retaining it,” he said.

Cycle City manager Andrew Watson spoke of the potential flow-on effects to the community, but hoped the proposal would also create employment opportunities for Ballarat residents.

He said regardless of whether the Civic Hall stayed or went, activation of the site was the priority.

“Something should happen, it’s just sitting there not being used,” Mr Watson said.

“Whether in its current state or renewed, it has been sitting there dormant for too long.”

The Forge Pizzeria front-of-house manager Stacey McCartin said the more people in Ballarat, the more customers through the doors for lunches, dinners and meetings.

“If you’ve got new people coming into Ballarat they’re always looking for new places to go and experience. More people to Ballarat is more benefit to everyone.”