Ballarat City Council: Civic Hall moves to next phase

A CIVIC Hall re-development moved a step closer last night.At an ordinary meeting Ballarat City Council voted unanimously in favour of moving to the next phase of its proposal to overhaul the city landmark.Under the plan, the council’s administration would be moved to the Mair St site, with other government departments, community agencies and commercial operators sought out as potential co-tenants.An officers’ report pointed to research commissioned by the council on its own accommodation needs and the interest of other groups in being part of a development.It said the council needed more space than was available at its three present office sites, and that there was enough interest from other groups in high-end office space to move to the plan’s next stage. The consultants reports which provided those assessments were not tabled at the meeting, having been labelled confidential by the council.Central ward councillor Craig Fletcher said the officer’s report showed council was going about its plan for the site in the right way. “We’re moving forward in a way that’s controlled, very cautious and very much evidence-based,” Cr Fletcher said. “It’s not about saying we want to be a white knight coming in and recklessly doing some development.” North ward Cr Noel Perry said the plans were in line with a State Government report into regional centres of the future, released yesterday.One of the report’s recommendations was, where possible, local, state and federal government offices be co-located in regional centres to allow better coordination and service delivery.It also said the State Government should review its operations to see what agencies or functions could be shifted to regional Victoria.”This fits perfectly with where we’re going,” Cr Perry said. The council will now draw up a development strategy and attempt to secure partners for the development.It will also look at attracting organisations for a new-look Town Hall and Phoenix Building.
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