THE next Ballarat City Council might consider channelling Mick Jagger when it lines up to consider the next step for the redevelopment of the Civic Hall site.
Cr Cheryl Bromfield started us off down the musical route this week, reciting from the Sound of Music, suggesting council should be going back to start at the very beginning.
I'm not advocating for the Rolling Stones to be the headline act when, or should I say if, the hall reopens to the public (as cool as that would be) but instead of the Sound of Music, maybe it should consider the 1969 hit You Can't Always Get What You Want.
The controversial Civic Hall issue which has cast a pall over the final 12 months of this council, was up for consideration again in the very late hours of Wednesday night when a new report was tabled and debated.
The Redevelopment Option Report winds its way through a plethora of methods undertaken to assess community feeling, understanding and preferences for the Civic Hall site of the future. Basically, it centralises the whole process that sections of the community claimed the council didn't follow before putting up the ill-fated council offices redevelopment proposal.
The report found option 1B - Paint, Polish and Program, the preferred choice. For the uninitiated, that means, in short, keeping the current hall and giving it and the surrounds a damn good spruce-up.
Of those that took part in the process, that option was preferred by 26 people, as their first choice. No, it's not a typo - the number is 26.
At Wednesday night's meeting there was a push both within and from outside the council to have a decision made to progress the project on the basis of the report. Effectively, such a decision would have cornered and encumbered the new council on this issue before it had even been elected. Fortunately, sanity prevailed and the Options report will be tabled before the new council. Whether it provides the answers for the sites future is still debatable.
The first issue being with such small numbers supporting the top Option choice, is can it be used for the basis of a decision given the tens of thousands of people which have an interest (every ratepayer)? Such a result wouldn't cut it in the corporate world, that's for sure. Coupled with the survey conducted late last year, the incoming council might get a better idea. Still, there's no silver bullet.
The inherent problem with the Civic Hall site and many other major projects not limited to Ballarat is that inevitably, you cannot please everyone. Clearly, there was a groundswell of public opinion against the last proposal, largely based on the $40 million price tag and the perception that the community would largely be excluded from the post-development site.
But when it comes to what residents do want on the site, views and spread much wider. Often it easier to explain what you don't want, rather that what you do.
This is where the next council should consider the words of Mr Jagger. If the next council will not be able to deliver what every person in Ballarat wants, it should consider what the city really needs.
A Civic Hall site which is a vibrant hub of activity. A site where locals can gather and visitors can relax. Where business and pleasure mix. Where cultures thrive. That's what we believe Ballarat needs to continue the reinvigoration of the CBD.
If that means the hall stays or goes, is now almost immaterial.
And we are not suggesting that the new council should dismiss the thoughts of residents which have been compiled during the past 12 months. But balancing those views with what is best for the city as whole - and sticking to that direction - will deliver the best outcome.