THE continuing debate over future uses of Ballarat’s Civic Hall site will come to the fore again later this month when the public submission period for ideas closes.
As the city draws its collective breath following the events of last year when a multimillion-dollar proposal to redevelop the site, in part with a new office building for the City of Ballarat, was defeated, the community views were clear.
The Courier reports today that the council has received more than 60 submissions on future use of the site with a little under three weeks to go before the submission period ends.
That might seem like plenty but it does not align with the breadth of community feeling expressed in opposition to the proposal which was debated last year.
While this newspaper was critical of aspects of the previous project, the council should be applauded for taking this step to consider ideas from members of the community.
It’s a step which has pitfalls and again will not please every interested party.
Critics will say it is a process that should have occurred at the start of the current council’s term, instead of the end.
Either way, this is the direction and strategy which is here and now and it provides an opportunity for a range of voices and opinions to be heard.
This newspaper would certainly encourage all Ballarat residents to have their say.
Most readers of The Courier will be aware of the many failed projects and plans for the site and do not need to be told of its importance.
We know you are passionate about the issue.
A vision which helps develop a vibrant and accessible site will enhance the greater central business district and that’s got to be good for everyone.
While much discussion surrounding the Civic Hall site in recent years has focused on the negatives, this is an exciting opportunity for people to help drive our future. It’s what local government should be all about.
More than 60 submissions is good but we believe that if more people take part in the process, the result will be better.
It’s a chance to be involved in something great, not for the council but for Ballarat as a city.
Strong community voices have helped make Ballarat the place it is today, and need to continue to shape our future.