There was never any question a public meeting on the council’s sweeping changes to parking was going to generate widespread interest.
Despite the longing to cling to that idyllic past of vacant and free car spaces exactly where you want them, this is the reality of a growing city.
If parking problem comes down to one word; growth; the engagement of a packed chamber for four hours also reflects on the passion people have for how it grows.
No hiding that.
The councils new parking zones may on one hand spread these long-day parking opportunities even further afield from the CBD but they equally may make people reconsider just how much they are willing to pay for the convenience of parking close to where they want to be.
As previously stated, any commodity of increasing scarcity by its very nature becomes more valuable and in turn dictates just how much people are willing to pay for it.
The clamour for multi-storey carparks would almost certainly come with a similar catch; they won’t be for free.
Standing alone, neither federal or state governments will fund them and should council cover this colossal capital cost with an intent of somehow making it free, ratepayers would still pay for it in the long run.
Putting aside alternative transport solutions, and uptake of this too - as any bigger city shows-often takes the coercion of financial necessity, puts Ballarat residents in a quandary about what they want and what they are willing to pay for.
Council of course is tasked with managing this messy legacy of a century of convenience and this week made the bold attempt to cross that Rubicon.
So was it any surprise engagement was so passionate?
The broad cross section of parties who appeared and made submissions on Thursday’s meeting showed not only how many people’s livelihoods it affects but also that civic engagement is alive and well.
But what of those who couldn't make it to the packed chamber?
The Courier’s live coverage had three and a half thousand unique viewers, a record eclipsing all other contentious meetings, even the saleyards and civic hall.
Online engagement has never been stronger, (426,000 unique users for May), and whatever the outcome, this is where people want their news and the issues that concern them like parking.
The argument for making public meetings even more public, including modern technology that is now the norm, like live streaming, just became a whole lot stronger.