Ballarat’s big ticket items

PRIORITY: Eureka Stadium upgrade works are already underway with $15 million allocated.

PRIORITY: Eureka Stadium upgrade works are already underway with $15 million allocated.

In a matter of weeks, Ballarat City Council will have nine newly elected councillors.

FUNDING NEEDED: The fate of the derelict Civic Hall site still hangs in the balance.

FUNDING NEEDED: The fate of the derelict Civic Hall site still hangs in the balance.

With the fate of major economic projects in the balance, the leader say councillors have a critical responsibility in steering the city in the right direction. 

Committee for Ballarat chair Janet Dore said Ballarat said activation of the Civic Hall site was critical in the next council term.

PUSHING AHEAD: The Ballarat Saleyards relocation is proposed to commence early next year.

PUSHING AHEAD: The Ballarat Saleyards relocation is proposed to commence early next year.

“We’ve got to see it activated, not just as a community facility, but as a whole a centre of commerce, activity and jobs,” Ms Dore said. “We need to entice private and government interest and investment into the site.”

Linking the Ballarat Railway Precinct to the Civic Hall site was also paramount in reviving the city’s dwindling Central Business District, Ms Dore said.

In the last year alone, the council rotated four different chief executives following the resignation of longstanding chief Anthony Schinck at the end of last year.

Interim chief executives Natalie Reiter, Neville Ivey and Frank Dixon all had a stint at helm of the council before current chief executive Justine Linley was appointed in April. 

Despite the limitations of the state government’s 2.5 per cent rate cap, Ms Linley said she believed the council was in a “robust financial state.” The council is set to slash $1 million of capital works after the Essential Services Commission rejected an application to exceed this year's rate cap.

“The fact we are moving into rate capping, it would be unlikely, although not impossible for the incoming council to seek a variation,” she said.

Ms Linley said a review of council’s services was being undertaken with cuts expected. She said the rate-cap put additional pressure on the new councillors to lobby both levels of government for funding. 

At the top of Ms Linley’s agenda was securing funding for the Civic Hall site, continuing to develop the Ballarat West Employment Zone and establishing a multi-million dollar waste to energy plant. Other prioritises included the completion of the next stage of the Ballarat West Link Road, Ballarat Saleyards relocation, advocating for better public transport and works on sporting facility upgrades including the $15 million Eureka Stadium revamp.

“In areas where implementations have already commenced it is about ensuring those projects are pursued under the new council,” she said.