The City of Ballarat will need to find another $2.6 million to complete the reopening of the Bridge Mall to traffic, this week's agenda indicates.
So far, council has allocated $15 million to the project, but the total cost is now estimated to be about $17.6 million, leaving a $2.6 million gap.
In this week's council agenda, officers recommended reopening the road to east-bound traffic, aiming to revitalise the precinct and encourage businesses to invest.
In 2019, council committed $15 million over three years to complete the project, the first stage of the Bakery Hill Urban Renewal Plan.
Councillors will debate the reopening plan at this Wednesday's council meeting, and ultimately approve a direction for traffic to run in.
However, the council officers' recommendations in the agenda, for both east- and west-bound options, are $17,675,000 and $17,653,000 respectively.
"Whilst the initial concept for the entire precinct plan is in excess of the current budget, the project team will undertake cost management to ensure the major components - Bridge Mall, Grenville Street-Sturt Street intersection and Little Bridge Street will be able to be achieved and the benefits of the projects realised," the agenda reads.
It's not detailed what the "cost management" will entail.
A City of Ballarat spokesperson said in a statement the $17.6m estimate is for the "entire" Bakery Hill Precinct Plan, of which the Bridge Mall is the first stage, and includes "additional project costs made up of design, business support packages, project management, site investigations and early works".
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"Consideration will be given to which aspects of the project best deliver the outcomes we are aiming to achieve - a thriving, distinctive and connected precinct," they said.
"Materials, constructability, and scope are the main considerations."
The spokesperson added council is "actively pursuing other grants (and) funding opportunities" to complete the plan.
"There are no plans at present to allocate further council funds," they said.
"Council has committed $15m to the project and whilst some funds could be leveraged from other CBD initiatives it is expected that this would be limited."
On the ground construction works will cost $12.5 million of the $15 million allocated.
The initial plan, revealed last Monday, was for a one-way lane to be built from Sturt Street to Peel Street, keeping the playground and trees, and possibly introducing parking.
The preferred route, according to council officers, is an east-bound lane, to attract shoppers heading west into the city from the booming growth zones.
It would also create less complexity than a west-bound lane for traffic entering from Victoria Street and Main Road.
When comparing the one-way options to the two-way option, officers found not enough space would be available for a "pedestrian-first outcome".
"The raw percentages of two-way noted 65 per cent of the total space for roadway and parking compared with 32 per cent for one-way," the agenda states.
"In order to achieve a pedestrian first outcome, one-way traffic provided the more optimal amount of flexible space for all."
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Grenville Street would be closed to traffic south of Curtis Street to create more green space, while halving the number of bus bays on Little Bridge Street is also mentioned.
A Business Support Package is expected to be launched in "early 2021", with opportunities for property and business owners in four streams- shopfront and faade restoration grants; heritage conservation advisory services; heritage restoration grants; and low interest heritage restoration loans.
"The on-the-ground works will transform the site and the support packages listed below are there to encourage property owners and businesses to make their own improvements that complement the revitalisation," the agenda states.
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