Civic Hall works to finally start

Civic HallWORKS on the much maligned Civic Hall site could begin within months.

Ballarat Mayor Des Hudson said if a proposal to start work was approved by council on Wednesday night,preliminaryconstructioncould commence in early 2016.

Phase two of theCivic Hall design processwill be brought before council this week, with the start ofworks to theCivic Hall main hall,foyer,Ballarat Civic Plaza, landscape works and relocation of existing car parking a key recommendation.

The councilhas recievedits fair share of criticism from the community for lack of progress at the site, however,Cr Hudson said construction could “absolutely” begin in the short term.

“I think the community has beensaying that whatever it will be, lets justget on with it,” hesaid.

“Realistically I think we can start early next year with the view that hopefully we could have some sort of the ceremony later in the year.

“From this perspective, we’re talking about the retention of the site.

“Certainly over my time in 13 years we’ve had three or four attempts (at finding a use for the site) and thisis the closest we’ve ever been.”

If approved, the proposal would see the Civic Hall main hall and foyerrenovated, while hard landscape for the Ballarat Civic Plaza would be created alongside soft landscape for a civic park.Existing car parks would be relocated fromthe site’swest tothe east, but would notresult in theloss of any parks.

Council is yet to decide what the Civic Hall site will be used for, with fivedesignscurrently being considered.

All five proposals – including a ribbon library, performing arts centre, commercial innovation hub, civic library on Armstrong Street and community courtyard library –require the completion of stage one works.

A figure of $7.483 million was carried forward into 2015-16 financial year for project works, with Cr Hudson confirming that about $500,000 had been spent through theplanning process and community consultation.Other recommendations include design directions for the entire Civic Hall site and the withdrawal ofthe demolition application to allow for a new planning application for the construction ofstage one works.

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