Civic Hall to open as part of design consultation

A SECTION of the Civic Hall may be open to the public in the coming months. 

Civic Hall

Civic Hall

But the proposal to open the hall’s foyer to hold collaborative community sessions relies on a City of Ballarat council vote on Wednesday night. 

The year-long design process would establish an Open Door Studio in the foyer of the Civic Hall to allow the public to see and contribute to the architectural design process. 

The space will need to be redeveloped to ensure it is safe for the public. 

The studio will be part of council’s ‘Participatory Community Design Process’ to seek community feedback on adaptive re-uses of the Civic Hall site. 

Save Civic Hall chairman Jonathon Halls said the group had been pushing council to adopt the proposal for a while.

“We think it is an excellent idea,” Mr Halls said. 

“The community has woken up to the value they place on the community facility, which has not been the case in the past.”

Mr Halls said the collaborative process allowed council

and the community to have a two-way conversation. 

“People will turn up and engage in the process, and together, refine those designs,” he said. 

“There will be 10 design concepts and over time they will be refined to three concepts which can be presented to the elected council.”

“What we have seen in the past few years is the failure of the decision-making process by council in trying to come up with a solution to satisfy the community,” Mr Halls said. 

City of Ballarat Mayor Joshua Morris said this was the first collaborative approach taken by council. 

“It is a process that is not common and very exciting,” Cr Morris said.

“It is a facilitated process, through which a final result for what we hope to see for the Civic Hall site.”

Cr Morris said the process needed to take place, irrespective of what happened in November’s state election. 

In April the state government made a pre-election promise to relocate the VicRoads headquarters to Ballarat, adjacent to the Civic Hall site. 

Councillor Amy Johnson responded to the state government announcement by issuing a notice of motion to suspend a demolition application for the hall.

kara.irving@fairfaxmedia.com.au

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