The City of Ballarat will now get started on the ambitious plan for Civic Hall that passed council on Wednesday night.
The proposal will see the hall and library combined to become a ‘multi-use’ space, at an initial cost of $19 million.
The plan was put together by council officers following the aborted community consultation process.
Six councillors voted for the plan and three voted against it, raising the prospect of trouble down the line once planning applications for the site come back to the chamber.
But Mayor Des Hudson said the majority supported the plan and that was enough for them to get started.
“You expect to have robust debate on these issues now that we’re at the pointy end. You expect there to be debate on what is the best forward is,” he said.
“The difference was the Lower Hall, and for the majority of councillors the multi-use space is the best way forward.”
Councillor Samantha McIntosh put forward an alternate motion to keep the lower hall so the original architect’s vision would stay complete, but it was voted down.
Commitee for Ballarat chairman Janet Dore said she could not see where the boost to jobs would be from the project.
“I’m just looking for the jobs. It’s not clear whether many jobs will come from this,” she said.
“I’m waiting for the detail.”
Ms Dore said the project would have benefited from greater private sector involvement in the planning process.
Cr Hudson underlined the commercial space in the plan and said the proposal made clear Ballarat was “open for business”.
Officers said planning work would begin in coming months, and permits and designs would be ready for work to start in July 2017.
Cr Hudson said he could not put a specific timeline on the work but said it would now go back to the planning department before an architect is appointed.
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