Kohinoor Community Centre: residents want hall to stay open

The Kohinoor Community Centre’s future remains unclear with Ballarat City Council yet to decide on the fate of the popular hall.

Council has been reviewing its large asset portfolio, which includes more than 600 council-owned buildings, as it looks to reduce costs.

The Errard Street hall was in the firing line for closure, with thousands of dollars needed to restore it to a usable state.

Ballarat Permaculture Guild’s Alex Bayley said community groups wanted to keep using it, but had received no help from council.

“The council basically said they think it will cost $1 million to get back into shape because they let it get so run down,” they said.

“In order for that to happen they were looking for the community to step up with proposals to make it worth their while.

“But we got no assistance from them, they wouldn’t  provide information we needed, so we couldn’t put together a meaningful proposal.”

The number of community groups that use the hall has ranged between 15 and 20.

Some have already moved to other centres, with a number making use of the Ballarat South Senior Citizens building on La Trobe Street at Redan.

Mx Bayley said the hall was a valuable meeting place in central Ballarat, which lacked the community spaces that were available in other suburbs.

“Most community groups meet at pubs,” they said.

“There is also no green space, there are no playgrounds or parks around, but this is a space with open gardens all around it.”

Ballarat City mayor Samantha McIntosh said council had not made any decision regarding the future of the hall.

“We are going through all the properties owned by council to question how they are used, and are they economically wise properties for council to be owning,” she said.

“We certainly have not made any decision about any asset.

“Council would absolutely consider all of the issues, all of the options, the other alternatives that may be close by or not, they will certainly consider all that detail.”

Mx Bayley said the onus should be on council to make the hall a viable option for community groups.

“Council says they want these strong, walkable and livable neighbourhoods, but in fact, say ‘we want you to get a new car and drive out to Lucas’ for a community centre’,” they said.