Leaders say it is critical a newly elected Ballarat City Council creates a revolutionary Central Business District activity plan connecting the city’s most critical projects.
Committee for Ballarat chief Janet Dore said the highest priority for the council must be revitalising the dwindling CBD.
She said activation of the Civic Hall site was the most critical project in the next council term.
She said the Committee for Ballarat had a team focused on rejuvenating the CBD, but it was paramount a new master-plan, with a detailed timeline, was canvassed.
To date, no master plan or business case for the Civic Hall site has been completed.
“My biggest concern is the Civic Hall site will become an increased cost to the council’s budget without an opportunity to generate significant revenue,” she said.
Ms Dore said at the moment, major projects like the Civic Hall site and Ballarat Railway Precinct were being treated as separate developments, but the future of both sites depended on the success of each other.
“What need to see a consistent strategic plan that ties these two keys sites together to ensure they’re viability,” she said.
“We’ve got to see it activated, not just as a community facility, but as a central site of job creation, connectivity, commerce and activity.”
The idea was backed by architect and co-director of Here Studio Ammon Beyerle who previously spent more than a year designing concepts for the Civic Hall.
But he raised concerns about the limitations of current plans for the Civic Hall site.
Plans for the derelict site would see it converted into a $20 million mega library complex.
The project hinges on an additional $13 million being pumped into the site on top of the council’s existing $6 million.
Mr Beyerle said activation, connectivity and permeability of the site were critical.
He said positioning the new library on the corner of Mair and Armstrong Streets had the potential to completely revolutionise the site.
He said at the moment, the Civic Hall’s Lower Hall was a barrier to north and south connection of the site effectively disconnecting the library from the CBD.
“It would be the best place to position it because it is a really public spot and would encourage connection to the railway precinct and CBD while linking to the foodie Armstrong Street precinct,” he said.
Sign up for our newsletter to stay up to date.