Ballarat CBD to be transformed under bold council plans

Ballarat residents will be encouraged to leave the car at home as part of the Ballarat City Council’s ambitious plan to transform the city’s CBD.

On Wednesday night councillors will vote on the City of Ballarat 2017-21 Action Plan, an update on the 2010 Making Ballarat Central strategy.

The plan sets out 12 priority upgrades for the CBD which are a mixture of council and state government projects.  

Among the key objectives will be a reshaping of Mair Street to become a high density area for office buildings, retail and residential housing. 

The 2010 document suggested changing the height limits along the city side of the street to six stories high east of Grenville Street.  

The plan also states council will look to “redevelop underused site such as those occupied by surface car parking, car yards or low scale buildings” by 2021. 

The 12 upgrades to be voted on

  • 1. GovHub
  • 2. Bakery Hill Gateway Masterplan
  • 3. Mair Street Upgrades
  • 4. Arts Precinct Masterplan
  • 5. Arts & Culture Strategy
  • 6. Railway Precinct Redevelopment Stage 2 (Bus Terminal)
  • 7. Ballarat Innovation Lab & Digital Space
  • 8. Walking Safety Improvements
  • 9. Bicycle Linkages
  • 10. Car Parking Strategy Implementation
  • 11. Heritage Plan 2016–2030
  • 12. Sturt Street Greenway Project

The plan also encourages council to enter discussions with the owner of the former Blockbuster Video store at 43 Mair Street about potential redevelopment.   

Ballarat City mayor Samantha Mclntosh said the Mair Street vision was just a small part of the 2010 strategy which council has been working towards.

“We are absolutely encouraging that type of development, we want to keep Ballarat a unique and authentic city,” Cr Mclntosh said.  

Major state government investments such as the GovHub on the Civic Hall site and stage two of the Ballarat Station Precinct development, which will see the creation of a new bus interchange, have been listed among the priority projects.

Meanwhile the city’s bike linkages and walking safety improvements are also listed as priorities for the next four years as council looks to ease traffic in the CBD.  

The Action Plan advises council to  “prioritise CBD through-routes and downgrade other connecting streets to encourage use by CBD destination traffic only”.  

The plan also suggests council consider to reduce on-street car parking in some locations around the CBD “for the benefit of an improved pedestrian environment” while reducing the demand for parking in the long term

The Action Plan lists the Sturt Street Greenway project among the 12 priority objectives for the coming four years, with improved “boulevard landscaping throughout the CBD, particularly along Sturt Street as well as Lydiard and Armstrong Streets” listed as an objective.

While not outlined in the 2017-21 plan, the 2010 strategy suggested making Sturt Street two lanes each way, giving more space for pedestrians and plantlife.  

“The way you move around the blocks of Sturt Street will make people think but (the changes) will make it beautiful and safe,” Cr Mclntosh said.  “Our goal is really to enhance that spectacular Goldrush streetscape we have.” 

The Bridge Mall is likely to undergo change over the next four years, with the plan advocating for construction of up to four storeys.

Similar sized buildings are also expected to be given the green light along Little Bridge and Curtis streets. While some of the works will be funded by council alone, more major developments would likely rely on state or federal government assistance.  The plan also suggests investigating the introduction of a developer contributions plan to help fund CBD projects.

A new marketing campaign specifically focused on Ballarat’s CBD is also being suggested,to include specialised branding and logos. 

READ THE FULL COUNCIL AGENDA AND PLAN HERE

This story Ballarat CBD to be transformed under bold council plans first appeared on The Courier.