BALLARAT City Council Greens candidate Belinda Coates has called for an immediate start to Civic Hall restoration work.
Ms Coates told Wednesday night’s Ballarat City Council meeting that work needs to begin, now that the community consultation process has shown that Ballarat residents want the hall retained.
“Ballarat’s Civic Hall has sat vacant, unused and unloved for far too long,” Ms Coates said.
“Community members have consistently said that they want to see re-use of the hall for community purposes.
“Ballarat City Council has already wasted around $2 million on the failed redevelopment of this site.
“This money could have easily paid for cleaning and basic renovations to make the main hall safe for community use.”
Ms Coates said minimal works could be done to make the Civic Hall safe and accessible and used within months, rather than sitting idle.
“The clear message from this process is still strongly for adaptive reuse. This is the most financially conservative option and current councillors should make a decision before they go into caretaker mode to commence simple, low-cost restoration to the main hall.
“A great deal of positive community goodwill, social capital and momentum has been gained. It would be such a shame to slow this process down with further delay and inaction.” The council voted on Wednesday night to endorse a Civic Hall redevelopment options report which shows the community prefers a “Paint, Polish and Program” option.
This allows for the hall’s refurbishment and enhanced landscaping so it can be used for a wide range of community groups.
Councillor Cheryl Bromfield said the incoming council needed to make the decisions on the future of the Civic Hall.
“As they say in The Sound of Music, let’s start at the very beginning,” Cr Bromfield said.
“The new council will have a clean start and can start from the beginning.
“We all had great ideas about delivering this for our community, but it wasn’t meant to be.”