THE Victorian Government last week announced the appointment of urban designers to undertake the $300,000 Ballarat Station precinct master planning study and called on the community to have their say as part of the process.
Deputy Premier and Minister for Regional and Rural Development Peter Ryan said urban design specialists SJB Urban had been awarded the contract to undertake the Ballarat Station Precinct Master Plan study on behalf of the Victorian Government and the City of Ballarat.
The study will examine the role of the precinct as a transport hub and the opportunity to unlock under-used land and structures within the site for transport and other activities and purposes. The project is being managed in partnership between the Department of Transport, Planning and Local Infrastructure, Regional Development Victoria, VicTrack and the City of Ballarat.
The Victorian Government is contributing $75,000 to the project through its Regional Growth Fund. The City of Ballarat will contribute $50,000 to the project from its CBD strategy fund, Making Ballarat Central, while VicTrack will provide $175,000.
"This study will create a vision for the renewal of the precinct – a place that is vibrant, commercially successful and meets the needs of Ballarat residents and businesses as well as commuters, visitors and the broader community," Mr Ryan said.
"As the welcome point for visitors arriving to Ballarat by train, the master plan will strive to deliver a gateway worthy of one of Victoria's fastest growing regional cities."
Public Transport Minister Terry Mulder said the Ballarat Station precinct has potential that could be unlocked through the intelligent planning of the station and surrounding area, as it is close to the CBD and rail and bus services and has significant historic character.
"Critical to the development of the master plan will be the identification of creative solutions to issues such as parking, growth in public transport patronage and how to strengthen the precinct's connections to the CBD," Mr Mulder said.
"Community feedback will be vital in making sure that a range of ideas and solutions are canvassed throughout the study, with Ballarat residents and businesses encouraged to share their views."
Mr Mulder said the consultation process will build on previous community discussions about the Station and will include both face-to-face and online opportunities for the Ballarat community to get involved and help create a clear vision for the precinct.
City of Ballarat Mayor John Burt said the approach to seeking community feedback on the master plan will build on the extensive consultation that has been undertaken to date for the Ballarat CBD Strategy.
The master plan is scheduled to be completed by early 2014.