The issue of parking was absent from the somewhat threadbare agenda for this month's ordinary council meeting - but it was perhaps just a question of time before the hot topic of the moment cropped up.
As it happened, it was Cr Amy Johnson who first raised the issue, lobbing a rhetorical grenade into proceedings before the first council report had been considered.
Raising queries about the new system's app, its accessibility to older people and the overall impact on the CBD, she called for an independent review into the new plan.
"I personally think we've got it wrong," she said.
Cr Grant Tillett noted the issue of parking was not on the agenda, and suggested suspending standing orders for a more extended discussion of the topic.
It was a suggestion that the Mayor Ben Taylor deflected, asking the CEO Justine Linley what review process was in place. Ms Linley said the parking would be the subject of a "Gateway review" undertaken for major projects.
Cr Johnson subsequently queried the CEO, saying she had not heard any mention of a review process for the new system.
Cr Mark Harris meanwhile spoke against the motion for an independent review. "We haven't served our community well with its implementation and I think we have to acknowledge that," he said.
However, he said that all councillors had voted for the plan "for a good reason."
"We had to find a point of equity between the workers, the shoppers and the residents.
We can easily individually own the rage. In an election year, that would be the populist way to do. We've got to do better than that, we've got to get it fixedCr Mark Harris
"We can easily individually own the rage. In an election year, that would be the populist way to do. We've got to do better than that, we've got to get it fixed."
His stance was echoed by the deputy mayor Belinda Coates, who said she could not vote for a motion where the cost implications were unclear.
"We all voted for this unanimously," she said.
The council's director of infrastructure and environment Terry Demeo said confusion over the new system "had markedly dissipated" in the last couple of days.
He acknowledged criticisms of the communication strategy.
However, he said that council officers would continue to be flexible to make the new system, which was phased in at the beginning of the month, to be successful.
Cr Taylor spoke in support of Mr Demeo, saying: "The officers have heard our concerns and made changes."
He also called the new system a "vast improvement to what we had."
Cr Johnson's motion gained support from Crs Des Hudson and Daniel Moloney but was defeated overall.
The discussion ran for little more than an hour - or slightly more than Ballarat residents' free CBD parking entitlement in new money - before any officer reports had been discussed.
There was another un-billed addition to the agenda, an urgent notice that outlined the council's stance on the Melbourne airport link and the push for faster rail services to Melbourne.
Cr Moloney said he supported the motion, but criticised its vagueness and said he wished it was more "aspirational". In the recommendation, the council did not take a position on whether a new tunnel from Southern Cross Station was preferred or not, noting rather that any future airport rail link should not impact Ballarat "in a negative way."
The recommendation also suggested advocating to both State and Commonwealth Governments about the importance of an airport rail link, particularly one that positioned Sunshine as the only stop on an express service between the airport and Melbourne.
The recommendation was passed by councillors.
The one council on the original agenda that did inspire some debate concerned the rezoning of three areas of council land. Two areas of parkland in Wendouree and North Ballarat earmarked to become general residential zones were not discussed. However that fate of a site that currently hosts off-street parking at 12A Albert Street in Sebastopol created more debate.
Crs Samantha McIntosh, Jim Rinaldi and Moloney opposed the re-zoning, largely due to business owners' concern the property would eventually be sold.
Cr Rinaldi said he was sceptical about the changes, saying: "Shop owners had no idea it was being rezoned", a point previously made be Cr McIntosh.
However the officer recommendation was approved by a majority of councillors.
Cr Jim Rinaldi asked for a division of the vote, often called for when a councillor wishes their opposition to be a matter of public record.
- Parkland and off-street parking could go as council eyes land sales
- Proposed fire sale of public land before Ballarat City Council[December 2017]
- Ballarat Council is selling Kohinoor Community Centre[June 2019]
- City of Ballarat Council moves to sell off more land[July 2019]
- Letters to the editor: Council should not be selling off more land [July 2019]
Have you signed up to The Courier's daily newsletter and breaking news emails? You can register below and make sure you are up to date with everything that's happening in Ballarat.