THE City of Ballarat has been urged to do everything in its power to protect the heritage of the former Ballarat orphanage site.
Confused and distressed former Ballarat Children's Home residents called on councillors at last night’s ordinary meeting to provide answers on the site’s proposed demolition.
A petition with 498 signatures was also presented to the council, calling on it to protect and commemorate the historic site at the former Ballarat orphanage, which since 1865 had been part of the City of Ballarat’s heritage.
The petition noted that the orphanage looked after more than 4000 children, many who were now proud residents of Ballarat.
Deborah Findlay, who was placed in the orphanage as a young girl, asked the council why former residents weren’t informed of the demolition application before signs went up at the site last
Ballarat Mayor John Burt told the gallery no decisions had been made and the City of Ballarat had met with Child and Family Services with a view to connecting with as many former residents of the orphanage as possible.
He said the council would not allow the demolition application to compromise the protection of heritage aspects of the site.
Council CEO Anthony Schinck confirmed the council had received an application from a developer to demolish all but a few of the buildings on the site.
He said another application by the developer to rezone the site was yet to be determined.
“There are lots of opportunities for the community who have strong feelings on what should or shouldn’t happen at that site to provide that feedback to the council,” he said.
Residents were concerned they had only less than two weeks to make a submission on the demolition permit to the council and asked for an extension to the process.
But Mr Schinck said a two-week extension could be granted.