Council hears ideas for night market and tennis centre

RESIDENTS calling for funding to be injected into a night market and a council-run committee which says it ran out funding last year were among the submissions made to Ballarat City Council at a meeting discussing its draft budget on Wednesday night.

Chairman of the Ballarat City Council Community Impact Grant Program committee Geoff Sharp called on the council to allocate at least another $15,000 more on top of the $300,000 it had already allocated to the group.

The committee was formed in 2011 to assists smaller community groups by allocating grants of up to $10,000 for community events and projects. 

But Mr Sharp said the $300,000 the council had given the committee last year had been inadequate and it had run out of money in May.

Ballarat councillor Amy Johnson asked Mr Sharp if the committee could more carefully distribute funding to ensure it didn’t run out in this year’s budget, but Mr Sharp said the funding allocated would be insufficient to the community’s needs. 

“If the council wants to get the committee back to where it was when it was formed they need to allocate $360,000 to cater for the growing demand in services,” he said. 

Geoff Potts and Andreas Litras, who are part of a group of residents seeking to turn the Ballarat railyards into an arts precinct, also made a submission requesting $50,000 to establish a night market in Lydiard Street.

The council is currently working with state government body Victrack to develop a master plan which will dictate the future use of the railyards site.

The masterplan was set to be released this year, but has not yet been finalised by Victrack. 

Mr Potts said the concept of the night market was to generate funding to establish the arts hub.

It would showcase the works of local artists, crafts and also Ballarat’s food and wine industries.

Mr Potts said the group wanted to run the night market from November until the end of summer. 

Ballarat councillor Vicki Coltman said while the market was a “good idea”, the group needed to arrange a meeting with the council’s business development coordinator of arts Daniel Henderson to ensure it was viable.

Ballarat Regional Tennis Centre president Peter Keller also made a submission to the council requesting $1.25 million to refurbish the centre’s failing infrastructure.

Mr Keller said the facilities were falling behind other regional cities – including Bendigo, which had 30 courts compared to Ballarat’s 18.

“We need to invest funding into tennis to encourage young people to stay involved in the sport,” he said. “We have minimal resources to say the least.” 

He said annual memberships fees for the club’s almost 300 members was used to keep the centre afloat and ensure it could remain open without any funding to spare to improve infrastructure. 

It is the second time Mr Keller has made a submission to council on the issue. 

Ballarat Mayor Josh Morris said all public submissions would be considered by the council in the next week.

Following Wednesday night’s meeting, the draft budget will be considered for adoption at the next ordinary meeting on July 9.

melissa.cunningham@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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