Mixed view of Ballarat rail precinct

An artist's impression of the new Ballarat Railway precinct. Photo: DBI Design
An artist's impression of the new Ballarat Railway precinct. Photo: DBI Design

Hundreds of residents say the state government’s $25 million proposal for the Ballarat Railway Precinct falls short of activating the site. 

An online survey, of almost 700 people, undertaken by The Courier, found 85 per cent of people did not believe the current plan would sufficiently activate the site or integrate with the Central Business District. 

A further 3 per cent said they were unsure whether or not the proposal would activate the site while almost 12 per cent of respondents believed it would be a positive addition to the Central Business District. 

Earlier this year, it was revealed construction on the Ballarat Railway Precinct will begin by mid to late 2017 after the government unveiled the consortium that will take control of the $44 million project.  

Under the plan, the historic bluestone goods shed would be converted into a convention or exhibition centre.

The Pellicano Group will be in charge of building a four-and-a-half-star, 77-room Quest hotel on the Lydiard Street side of the precinct. 

More than 77 per cent respondents said they wanted to see the goods shed converted into a regional and airport bus interchange while 16 per cent said they would support a plan to revamp it into a convention or exhibition centre.

More than 90 per cent of respondents said they would not support the government's plan to permanently transfer land at the Ballarat Station to a private developer. 

More than 80 per cent of respondents (511 people) said the state government’s investment into the station precinct did not meet their expectations for car parking.  Almost 14 per cent (85 people) believed there was adequate parking within the proposed plan.  

The community remained strongly divided on the amount of disability access the new plan would provide between train platforms or buses.

About 63 per cent of people said disability access was insufficient under the state government plan, 22 per cent said it would improve access for all abilities and 15 per cent said they were unsure.