Civic Hall Opinion
By: Melita Knight
The old civic hall has been sitting vacant since 2002, waiting
for someone to come along and return it to its former glory. It has
a lot of potential, and there are a myriad of possibilities as to
what it could be transformed into.
The council have finally decided to demolish it and create an
ultra-modern administrative base for the City of Ballarat. Not
everyone is happy with this decision however, and the estimated
price tag of $40 million is doing nothing to swing public
Yet why should the public be in favour of the council's plan?
The old civic hall was the community's. It was there for them to
use whenever they needed. And now it is going to be replaced by
office space; office space which the council already has. There are
many other buildings the council could use if they need more space,
so why not use the old civic hall for what it was originally
intended: a place for the community.
Whilst there is a need for more parking spaces, there is enough
room to build them on the existing site without having to demolish
anything. If we renovate and refurbish the existing civic hall, the
price can be reduced while keeping the charm and integrity of the
Instead of relocating from the Town Hall, and giving that space
to the community, why not simply stay in the Town Hall and let the
community use the old civic hall? It could be so much more than
another corporate space. It could be a creative, multi-purpose,
After renovation, it would be the ideal place for performances.
Bands, theatre groups, dancing troupes, and the like, could all use
this space to showcase their talents. Artists could use it to
display their work and it could be used for meetings and functions
by community groups, and as a place to hold various markets.
There would also be enough space to turn part of it into a place
for parents and their children. Put in some cute tables and chairs,
maybe some bean bags, and you would have a great place for children
to do arts and crafts, or for a place to go read after visiting the
library. Incorporate a coffee shop and it will be transformed into
a haven for adults and children alike.
If we renovate rather than demolish the existing building, we
will also be able to keep the skate park intact. Though Ballarat
has a new one, the one near the old civic hall is still used,
particularly by younger skaters, and allows more people to skate at
the one time.
Renovating and refurbishing the old civic hall makes much more
sense than spending $40 million on a misplaced building which a
majority of the community doesn't even want. Rather than an
unnecessary, ultra-modern, corporate space, let us instead
renovate, refurbish and reinvigorate the hall. Let us transform it
into a space which the whole community can use and enjoy.