DING ding: trams could return to Ballarat’s streets again, but it would cost as much as $90 million to do it.
Ballarat MP and Regional Australia Minister Catherine King said yesterday that she was speaking to people about local projects that could potentially receive federal funding.
Unfortunately for tramophiles, it doesn’t appear that conductors will be returning to Sturt Street anytime soon.
“I wish so desperately that we had not got rid of them in the 1970s. I think everybody does,” Ms King said.
The Courier spoke to several local identities and readers last week about what projects they would like to see our politicians fight for.
Bringing trams back to Ballarat was one of the most popular suggestions.
Ms King said the last costings for such a project were completed about five years ago, with the price tag set at around $70 million.
She said that figure could now be as high as $80 to $90 million.
“The question, as always with those projects, is if you had $90 million, is that what you would spend it on in Ballarat? That’s always the difficulty.”
One project that may be a lot closer to getting federal funding is the construction of a new six-court indoor sports centre in Wendouree.
Basketball Ballarat has been lobbying alongside other organisations for government funding to help build the centre, which will house basketball, netball and badminton.
“I’ve met with council over a number of months now to talk about that entire precinct,” Ms King said.
“It’s at a fairly advanced stage in terms of its costing and design and the work done.”
Ms King said she had not received any proposals for the $80 million redevelopment of Eureka Stadium, which the state Labor opposition supported in the run-up to the last state election.
Ms King pointed to the federal government’s record in supporting Ballarat projects but was tight-lipped on whether there would be more to come before the next election.
“Election announcements are something we do when an election is called and so far the campaign is not called yet,” she said.