Western Highway land may be rezoned
BALLARAT’S most prominent entrance way could be rezoned after councillors last night voted to release a draft plan on the issue.In a marathon meeting which went well into the night, Ballarat City Council voted to release the Draft Woodmans Hill Gateway Precinct Master Plan for public comment for a minimum period of 28 days.
The document aims to rezone most of the land along the city entrance from the Western Highway to rural living rather than mixed use.
With four public representations to the meeting from local landholders, city director of development and infrastructure Eric Braslis said he would personally oversee consultation with local landholders early next month, before the plan would again be considered by the council.
Mr Braslis said the plan would later be released for public comment for a period of 28 days.
Former Ballarat mayor John Barnes spoke in opposition to the recommendation and asked council chief executive officer Anthony Schinck why the plan had not been made public when it was first produced more than five years ago.
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Chairing the meeting, mayor Cr Mark Harris informed Mr Barnes he was not entitled to ask questions of council officers at that point of the meeting but deputy mayor Cr Ben Taylor later asked the same question of Mr Braslis and Mr Schinck.
Mr Schinck said the plan had not been delayed in the past.
“It was simply not the will of the council for it to proceed at that time,” he said.
The report provided to the council said changing the Woodmans Hill zoning would result in a tighter mixed-use core surrounding the key intersection of the Western Highway and Clarkes Road.
In another decision, councillors voted to alter the governance structure of Her Majesty’s Theatre.
The theatre will become a not-for-profit entity, allowing it to receive a charitable tax concession status.
A new board will be appointed for the theatre, with outgoing board chairwoman Cr Cheryl Bromfield last night supporting the change.