Civic Hall plan to go before Ballarat City Council

THE latest plan for Ballarat's Civic Hall will face its first big test tomorrow night.In August, the council announced it would investigate the feasibility of moving its administration to a redeveloped Civic Hall site.At the time, the council said the plan depended on a business case to support the idea.And a report to be tabled at tomorrow night's ordinary council meeting says that, so far, the case stacks up.The council had hired international property agency Jones Lang La Salle to investigate demand for office accommodation in Ballarat.The report said "more than eight" organisations had registered interest in office space ranging in size from 350 to 8000 square metres. "The JLL report indicates that there is sufficient evidence provided through this process to warrant council proceeding to the next stage of a development process," the report said.The council also commissioned consultants Burns Bridge Sweet to assess its own future accommodation requirements. That report found the council's current office space, in the Town Hall, Phoenix Building and Gordon Building, would soon be inadequate.The details of both consultants analyses are off-limits to the public, kept under wraps by the council under section 89 of the Local Government Act.The report recommended councillors proceed to the next stage of the development process.Then the council would draw up a development strategy and attempt to secure partners for the development and groups to take over its existing administration sites.The plan follows a series of failed attempts to transform the Civic Hall site, the last of which collapsed after financial backers pulled out of the deal.

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