Works at the derelict Civic Hall site look set to begin, despite no outside funding secured for the $20 million-plus mega library complex.
A report to go before the Ballarat City Council this week recommended councillors vote in favour of beginning preliminary physical works at the site.
However, the project remains dependant on an additional $13 million being pumped into the site on top of an existing $6.8 million set aside by the council for development.
Earlier this year, The Courier reported more than $1.1 million had already been pumped into the Civic Hall site before final designs for had been even drawn up. The council voted to combine the Civic Hall and Doveton Street library in April.
To date, there has been no word on any outside funding secured for the project.
Deputy mayor Belinda Coates remained hopeful certainty surrounding the site would entice investment.
“We have clear plans to retain the vast majority of the hall and to expand the library... with absolute certainty,” Cr Coates said.
“This should and will provide more reassurance that the council have a really clear vision which will benefit the CBD and boost our economy making it more attractive to investors.”
Councillor Samantha McIntosh said the Civic Hall project was a critical element in the council’s push to activate the dwindling Central Business District.
“The minute external investors see all councillors agree on the vision they are more likely to look at that opportunity and bring their business to Ballarat,’ she said.
She conceded work to activate the site should have been undertaken years ago.
“The indecisive process of the site to date has made it very challenging,” she said. “However, it’s very pleasing to see works beginning.”
Immediate works include landscaping the exterior of the site, restoring the front facade of the Civic Hall and improving lighting. Councillors will vote a report detailing stage one works at site on Wednesday evening.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.