NBN rollout sparks concern for heritage areas

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AN urgent motion put forward by the Ballarat Heritage Advisory Committee, which called on the City of Ballarat to address heritage protection concerns sparked by the rollout of the National Broadband Network, was backed by councillors at Wednesday night’s council meeting.

The committee’s motion expressed concerns that heritage overlays had not been adequately protected from poor workmanship by contractors. 

It also made a request that council officers further investigate solutions to deter unauthorised access into the Civic Hall. 

The committee says that shoddy construction work undertaken as part of the NBN rollout had inflicted damage to heritage properties and it called for the city to raise the issue with federal Communications Minister Malcolm Turnball.

Councillor Sam McIntosh, who is the chair of the heritage advisory committee, called for councillors to vote in favour of the motion at the meeting. 

Cr McIntosh said she continued to receive complaints from residents about damage to heritage-protected areas and the lack of action from NBN Co. 

“The group has been meetings fortnightly with the council to put their thoughts forward,” she said. 

Councillors voted to investigate solutions to deter unauthorised access to civic hall, to provide the heritage committee with feedback into the outcome of its discussions with Mr Turnball and to also provide feedback on how rollout practices will respect heritage overlays and the health and safety of residents.

“As a city, we have been documenting and registering these complaints and we have had meetings with the NBN but it doesn’t seem to alleviate the concerns of the community,” she said.

 “We have great respect for our heritage streetscape and for those reasons it is important for us to take on board these concerns and see where we can go to from here.”


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