Ballarat City Council has set aside $10 million for potential land purchases around the Mars Stadium sporting precinct.
The sum of money is highlighted in this year's draft budget under "strategic land purchase".
Council officers are looking to define the future of the area, which hosts many of the city's high profile sporting events. It has had major funding injections from all levels of government in the past decade.
More change is imminent as the Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society finalises plans to move the Ballarat Show site to Mount Rowan in the next few years.
The precinct also includes the eight-hectare John Valves factory site, which shut down permanently in 2008, and has lain derelict since.
Funding from all levels of government has been pumped into the sporting facilities in recent years. These include $22 million works to allow the Mars Stadium to start hosting AFL games in 2017 and the $24 million new Ballarat Sports and Events Centre (BSEC) stadium.
Most of the block is dedicated to sports, with four ovals now on site including the C.E.Brown reserve. As well as holding major sports events, the precinct is home to a host of community football and cricket clubs.
Council released a 95-page draft budget document outlining 2021/22 spending plans for public consultation last week.
There was no detail in the documents of how the $10 million was likely to be spent but the City of Ballarat confirmed it was considering the possibility of buying land in the "major events" precinct.
The City of Ballarat has said audits and feasibility works were taking place but stressed the process was at an early, exploratory stage.
The council's director of development and growth Natalie Robertson said potential land purchases had been flagged in a 2015 masterplan.
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"Strategically we are trying to determine through a business case or feasibility whether it should be something that council should purchase - so that we can genuinely do the master planning for that area and be the masters of our destiny," Ms Robertson said.
BAPS owns the freehold to a land parcel abutting Creswick Road and Howitt Street measuring slightly less than three acres.
The rest of the land used for the Ballarat Show is crown land under a City of Ballarat committee of management.
The most recent BAPS annual report valued the land at $6.5 million although it notes the valuation took place in 2019.
Ms Robertson said evaluation work on the former John Valves factory site would be part of the review of the precinct.
"Council is in the middle of a feasibility study, business case, valuations, land audits, [and] environmental audits," Ms Robertson said.
Works are ongoing in the precinct, with a tender for entrance upgrades and disability compliance at the Mars Stadium going out last year.
Works on a $5.2 million stage two project at BSEC began earlier this year.
The Ballarat Major Events Precinct Master Plan, which was released in June 2015, also identified a potential site for a railway station to service match day crowds.
No firm plans to establish the stop, suggested for north of Howitt Street on the Maryborough line, have emerged since.
The future of the former John Valves site has been uncertain since the factory's closure. The buildings have been demolished, while real estate websites suggest the area was purchased around October 2010 for $2.41million.
It is currently zoned for industrial use.
The ownership of the former John Valves site is attributed to a registered private company Guysgood PTY ltd and distributed among 14 shareholders, most of them based in Ballarat.
Ms Robertson said a detailed recommendation for the precinct was likely to go before councillors this winter.
BALLARAT COUNCIL STATEMENT
Quotes attributable to Natalie Robertson, director development and growth:
"A sum of $10 million has been allocated for strategic land purchases within the 21/22 budget, which includes the proposed Ballarat Major Events Precinct."
"Both the former John Valves site and Ballarat Agricultural and Pastoral Society freehold land, along with other land parcels within the municipality, are potential components of the proposed Ballarat Major Events Precinct. These properties will form part of a feasibility study that will be submitted as a report to Council in the coming months."
"Where Council needs to gain access to sites for environmental assessment or for land valuation, the appropriate landowners/agents have been or will be contacted in due course."
"The sum set aside and any decision to acquire any land will be made by a resolution of Council."
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