The state government announced on Monday morning it would not be replacing the historic replica Lydiard Street rail gates and instead installing boom gates.
The decision, which has been almost 12 months in the waiting, will see the government spend $10.5 million to complete the project.
Upon the release of the news, The Courier received a number of letters to the editor about the project.
READ THE STORY: Government reveals timeline for opening Lydiard Street reopening
Read the letters below.
Many letters have been written on this topic showing debate is still a healthy community occurrence.
Perhaps the heritage gates can be reinstated in time with a modern mechanism that does function as commuters expect re timetables?
Accept a functional change with an eventual return to the same appearance and form - a project for Ballarat's engineering and IT students to engage and investigate? The old chain mechanism was a safety risk, particularly with a human intervention continuously required.
Surely a compromise can be reached with a positive outcome ? Use the boom gates as an interim solution - sure, some 6 months late on a rational decision.
We should recognise the priority of a safe functional environment and in a reasonable time, but let's use the opportunity to restore the historic gates in the future. Horizontal and vertical movements with gates can still achieve the same outcomes. It's how we apply the solution that matters.
Give us a Spring target for a better Street!
- Jeremy Stagg, Buninyong
There's a big difference between preserving working heritage and a static museum heritage display.
We are profoundly disappointed at this impoverished thinking by V/Line.
Despite the increased rail traffic across Lydiard St, it is extremely difficult to accept the argument that there is no innovative engineering solution that would allow the heritage gates to be reinstalled with modern technology and enable rapid and safe opening and closing of the gates.
The heritage mechanism might need to be replaced, the gates should stay.
- John McLeod and Lynne McLennan, Mt Helen
In regards to these gates in my view they should be removed and replaced with the latest design of boom gates. This would bring this this railway crossing up to the latest standard from a safety and design perspective.
It should be of concern to the community that a train suffered a brake failure and collided with the existing gates. A significant safety issue I would have thought, community concern would appear to be minimal.
We have in Ballarat an exciting new Government hub building, next to an embarrassing Civic Hall building (best described as quaint) and we have bike lanes that no one rides on in the main street of the city. Surely we can move forward to some boom gates in Lydiard Street.
- Ken Hart, Lake Gardens
$10.5 million for boom gates.
You have to be joking.
Are they employing FIFO contractors?
I think that I could get a team of Ballarat contractors in to do the work for a lot less than $10.5 million dollars.
- Wallace Martin, Ballarat
I am livid that "planners" living in Melbourne can dictate as to what will happen to the landscape of Ballarat.
Firstly the ghastly, overpowering GovHub building.
Who on earth thought that would fit into the Ballarat landscape?
Now the fiasco with the railway gates.
After a year "they" have decided that boom gates are better and as a nod to heritage say they will put the gates where people can see them.
What's the use of gates if they are not in use? Surely with all the technology available it would not be that difficult to replace the gates.
I am sick and tired of developers and others planning for Ballarat without consultation with those who live here and value our beautiful city and its heritage.
- Nina Netherway, Ballarat East
Bloody ridiculous we have had the gates built and paid for just need them reinstalled - where are our members of parliament?
- Darren O'Hagan, Ballarat
Oh how obvious, and unsatisfactory, there are now going to be "ugly non-heritage boom gates" to replace the one, not two, one gate destroyed by the train 12 months ago. Really?
It was so obvious that any consideration to restore the heritage gates system was only given to placate the residents, and never a serious proposition.
And the cost to residents-taxpayers?? Over $10M ??? Ridiculous. Shades of the overspending culture here, see fern house, restored cottage, etc. etc.
What a scandal - on all levels.
Julie Taylor, Ballarat North
$10.5 Million to replace the gates.
That does seem exorbitant.
Unless the new gates are $10million to buy and $500k to install I can't see the expense.
Is some one skimming off the top?
- Sharon Hope, Ballarat
Many in Ballarat will be understandably outraged by the state government's decision to replace Lydiard Street's heritage railway gates with boom gates - at the extraordinary cost of $10 million dollars!
"Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said the new designs would still pay homage to Ballarat's heritage."
What sort of utter bull***t is this?
How do modern booms 'pay homage'?
Again the complete furphy of 'safety' is mentioned along with 'reduced waiting times for motorists'. Neither of these have any real basis in the facts.
The accident was caused by the train!
Also boom gates have been involved in a number of fatal level crossing accidents in Victoria in recent years.
The actual closing time for the gates is only seconds different to that of boom gates - it is the slowness of the remote human intervention operating the gates which adds extra time.
This is a slap in the face for Ballarat from the Labor government.
Extremely disappointing to find that they have completely ignored the heritage listing of the gates!
- Stuart Kelly, Ballarat
Heritage Fest, steam train, just the idea of not having those gates for next year's Heritage Fest seems ridiculous.
Not in keeping with Ballarat's heritage surely.
- Yvon Davis, Ballarat
What a disgrace.
Despite overwhelming local opinion that we wanted our gates restored and the heritage of the railway precinct retained we have been ignored by some distant authority looking for the cheapest solution.
So far this year we have had our beautiful city skyline ruined by the overwhelming and visually jarring Government Hub and now the heart of our heritage precinct is to be broken by ugly boom gates cutting across the unique Victorian streetscape.
What is the point of having a local city council if it doesn't stand up for Ballarat but just allows outside interests to impose the cheapest solution, a solution that once enacted we will have to live with forever.
- Marion Littlejohn, Mount Pleasant
Another piece of Ballarat's history and heritage thrown on the scrap heap.
What next? Why not concrete the Lake and create space for more housing?!
- Di Ridsdale, Bunkers Hill
Looks like another piece of our heritage is going to be lost forever.
Surely the gates and supporting posts could be retained, permanently open and facing away from the street.
The damaged posts and gates would need replacing.
A basic heritage pedestrian overpass could be built on the station side of the crossing which would also provide for greater safety.
Perhaps a fundraising campaign may provide a significant portion of the cost. Don't let us lose another historic structure in our city.
- Philip Charlton, Delacombe
Visiting Ballarat on Monday morning, Public Transport Minister Ben Carroll said the new designs would still pay homage to Ballarat's heritage.
I would like to know how they are going to achieve this on boom gates?
- Robert Donald, Ballarat East
I think it is terrible that the heritage rail gates are being replaced with boom gates.
By waiting all this time to make a decision knowing that people are sick of the inconvenience of the closed crossing, they think any solution will do.
What are the Ballarat Council doing to let this happen?
- Andrew Rawes, Delacombe
How disappointing that our government representatives did not fight to have our heritage gates returned.
We now have a monstrosity of a government building in the city centre at the hands of people from out of Ballarat and now boom gates instead of retaining a part of our history.
When we as a city are celebrating our heritage and the wonderful buildings and streetscapes we celebrate from our past this month, they announce boom gates! Disgraceful.
- Marj Traynor, Alfredton
Will there be heritage gates going in eventually?
Was this the result of the vote on the website?
- Belinda Magnano, Alfredton