What does Civic Hall look like inside?

The neglected Civic Hall site will undergo an $8 million refurbishment to return the building to its former glory.

Ballarat City Council has included cash for internal and clean-up works in its capital projects budget for 2017-18.

The Mair Street site will once again become a community hall with a capacity of up to 1300 people.

Council chief executive Justine Linley said $8 million for the project would be spent over a number of years.

“The internal works and completion of the external landscaping and clean-up works for the Civic Hall are included in the capital projects budget,” she said.

“Any unspent allocation in the current financial year will be carried forward to 2017-18.”

Works to clean up the front facade of the building were completed in September last year.

Landscaping work to move car parks and overhaul the gardens started in April.

The planned internal works will come after years of community frustration at a lack of progress towards refurbishment of the site.

There are also now plans yet for the lower hall, but council will continue to work with the state government, which plans to build a centre for 1000 jobs next to the main hall.

Ballarat City mayor Samantha McIntosh said the community had given a loud and strong message for the hall to be available.

“The community have had very different views, but it is very clear at the moment – we have a unanimous decision from council,” she said.

“You need to host community events, so it is a civic centre and I feel it is very important the community has it.

“It is about health and wellness – we need a space our community can come together for events.”

Cr McIntosh said the hall was valued for community events because it was central to the city and could host big crowds.

“Whether it be from a sporting perspective, education sector or the tourism sector, we need a facility in the middle of our CBD.” she said.

Plans to expand the adjacent Ballarat Library remain uncertain.

Council has budgeted $2.6 million to the municipality’s library operations.

Ms Linley said council had budgeted for works in the libraries renewal program, but additional development would require more government funding.