Bus interchange still a priority

The inclusion of a fully upgraded bus interchange in stage one Ballarat Railway Precinct works remains a key priority for Ballarat.

City of Ballarat councillor Daniel Moloney said there is a concentrated lobbying effort at council level to push for funding for the interchange in the May state budget.

The interchange was controversially omitted from stage one works in the $44 million project, forcing temporary bays to be placed along Lydiard Street North and Ararat Street as works in the precinct are carried out.

The project has been criticised by many for going away from its original ideal of developing the station into Ballarat’s main transport hub.

“I think whether you're pro or anti hotel (which is part of the development), the thing that everyone has in common is the call for the bus interchange and car parking to be all sorted out first,” Cr Moloney said.

“If that takes place in the first stage (of works) then it will relieve a lot of pressure for everyone, whether you're a resident or a commuter who comes in and parks every day - that's the key thing that people want to see. It makes so much sense.”

“I think the state government has heard loud and clear from us and they'll continue to as well because we're going to keep lobbying to see this as part of the May budget.

“We're confident we're being heard, but hopefully that translates to some dollars in May.”

Western Victoria MP Joshua Morris said funding the interchange in the next budget was a “sensible” option.

“The government should do what it do what it needs to make that happen as soon as possible,” Mr Morris said.

“The government has referred to the interchange as being temporary but really it's an indefinite period of time because there's no funding to do the works that need to be done.”

A government spokesperson said a new interchange would be “considered in the future” but did not indicate if it is in consideration for the 2017-18 budget.