A LEADING Ballarat climate action and sustainability group has been forced to close its CBD shopfront due to financial woes.
Ballarat Renewable Energy and Zero Emissions (BREAZE) will close its Smart Living Centre at 14 Lydiard Street after an “exhaustion” of available funds.
The centre opened in February 2012, providing information and working examples of sustainable products including double glazing, solar energy and insulation.
In a letter to Smart Living Centre volunteers, BREAZE board program development convenor Ian Rossiter said the organisation itself would be forced to fold if not for the closure of the centre.
“This way, we will be able to keep BREAZE and the market going,” the letter said.
“(The decision) reflects our inability to find a timely, ongoing income source since the exhaustion of remaining funds provided by Sustainability Vitoria and BREAZE Inc.”
In a statement on Thursday, Mr Rossiter said BREAZE would continue to run its bi-monthly Smart Living Market at Lake Wendouree and encouraged anyone interested in sustainable living to visit the market.
Mr Rossiter also thanked the volunteers who had helped with the centre over the years.
“Without those volunteers, the sustainability message in Ballarat would not be as strong as it is,” he said.
But some BREAZE volunteers on Thursday voiced their concern at the centre’s closure.
“To close it (the centre) now is a disaster and travesty, and a terrible waste of resources and potential,” said one volunteer, who asked not to be named.
“The board has chosen to invest money, some donated by BREAZE members, in running the Smart Living Market. To many volunteers concerned primarily about climate change and reducing emissions, this is hard to understand.”
Another volunteer said the centre’s closure would be a great loss for Ballarat.