Civic Hall is here to stay for the next generations

A word from our Save Civic Hall Secretary

“Dear SCH Committee and supporters,

We are at an interesting (& slightly nail-biting time) with the Civic Hall.

Our years of lobbying and educating Council and the community has resulted in a Council commitment to saving at least most of the Civic Hall from demolition, and to reopening the Civic Hall as soon as possible. However, there is still some doubt about the future of the Lower Hall, and we are waiting to hear the details of the interior works to start soon. A few points – 
1.  Work has already begun on the landscaping. We are disappointed to see more trees removed than was suggested by the plan, but have been told that for every tree taken out 7 or more will be planted. Some of the removals were probably necessary to accommodate better access for everyone. The steps and ramp are to go, with the ground built up to the level of the foyer. 
2. Baumgart Clarke Architects have been appointed for the interior design and “connection” if any, to the Library. We will watch this carefully, and believe we will be consulted. Their brief is fairly broad and vague – to activate the site, make it available for large-scale events, opening asap (possibly by end of year or early next). Some of the additional material given to the architects was terrible – the worst ideas from the “community consultation” (eg. blocking off the stage and balcony) and building removable, but soundproof partitioning in the main space. So we keep pushing against these costly and silly notions which would seriously affect usage of the main hall.  The Lower Hall is not included in the designated works – so that’s a clear risk, especially if the east side of the site is developed. 
3. Visit Ballarat is keen to use the hall for major events and exhibitions, and wants to start programming for main and Lower Hall now. Hopefully their clout will help.
4. Songways is an new online mapping project to document Ballarat’s live music heritage, with photographs, memories, stories, ephemera. We’d like to ensure that Civic Hall is  particularly well documented. (Material will be photographed etc – you don’t have to donate). Contact Georgina Williams or Deborah Klein, 5320 5643, or email  Georgina Williams on ”         …………  Merle Hathaway

The Turning of the 1st sod on the Civic Hall Plaza
Mayor Samantha McIntosh turned the 1st sod on the Civic Hall Plaza Landscaping Development at the end of March.  The Tender was awarded to S.H.E.A. and work of the landscaping is progressing and is expected to be completed in August.
                                                        Turning the 1st sod
                                                             S.H.E.A. Won the Tender
Internal Works:
Although the interior restoration plans have yet to be released …..Design services – Council’s website notes that Wendy Jacobs heritage
advisory will be involved – “The next steps will include a comprehensive
internal survey and condition audit (including heritage), the
development of concept designs, and identify possible early works”.
Planned Event for Civic Hall:
Sunday 20TH August is Civic Hall’s 61st Anniversary and there is an event planned.  The details are currently being finalised and will be posted when they become available, so put this date into your diary!….We would love to see you there!  
Mechanics Institute Fund Raiser….Friday May 5th  7.00pm Trivia
Please join us for the fundraiser for the Ballarat Mechanics Institute .  A trivia quiz Trivia featuring the Heritage Photographs of Max Harris.  Entry is $10 .  We hope to be able to get enough people to form a table of Save Civic hall supporters.  if you would like to join us please phone Judith 5335 6290 before 1st May.  You can also purchase tickets at the Mechanics Institute Library.
Details are on the following link:
Hope to see you there to support this wonderful Ballarat iconic building!