Opinion

Precinct plan falls short

I acknowledge that the state government has listened to some of the concerns of the community regarding the rail station precinct revised plan. It remains a long way short of being sympathetic to the needs of our community. The Rail Station precinct must be first and foremost an integrated transport hub.

What concerns me is the failure of the state government to have a conversation with the new Council rather than impose its view. 

Again, let me say I am not anti-development and, yes, we need to refurbish the rail precinct as an integrated transport hub, but this is a government hell-bent on getting its way without any consideration for our community’s needs into the long term. What I also can’t understand is that this proposed development isn’t even a vote winner!

The government is not focusing on a plan for the future rail needs in Ballarat – for instance, stations at Buninyong, Cardigan/ Lucas and Mt Rowan, the growth areas of Ballarat. 

The plan announced today is again different to that of the previous three and isn’t part of a strategic plan for the rail precinct. And, frankly, it is an uninspiring design without any regard for the heritage and history of Ballarat at this significant site. This is a state government that is failing to plan for the long-term benefit of our community.

Why is this project being done in isolation from the full needs analysis of the rail precinct and the Ballarat CBD? Commuters and the residents are the losers with this proposed unwarranted development. Whilst there is a plan for commuter parking the need will be at least double that in the short term. 

In Ballarat we have and will continue to have a park and ride mentality. And as for residents of Soldiers Hill living near the rail precinct, we will lose our quiet residential amenity. If a hotel is viable, it belongs at the Civic Hall precinct. The goods shed at the rail station should be the bus transport hub. Why is the state government hell bent on a short-term fix for what is a long-term issue for Ballarat residents and commuters.

Ron Egeberg, Soldiers Hill