THE City of Ballarat has developed an exciting streetscape regeneration program aimed at encouraging commercial building owners in the CBD to restore their heritage buildings.
The program, ‘Restore, Rejuvenate, Renew’, provides an opportunity for the City of Ballarat to support owners with a dedicated heritage architect at no cost to the applicant to help them achieve outcomes to improve the appearance and usability of Ballarat’s historic CBD buildings and streetscapes.
City of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh said: “As part of the City of Ballarat’s CBD Regeneration Program we are committed to delivering a tailored conservation outreach programme for private and commercial heritage property owners. This will involve a dedicated conservation architect working with owners to: Reinstate lost heritage features, help conserve properties, increase access and use and asess regulations and controls.”
“It’s beautifying, its bringing back the past, its celebrating the past but making sure we have a vibrant future ahead.”
Cr McIntosh said there were great successes at the moment including Mitchell Harris, Hop Temple, Housey Housey, The Forge, The Lane, and the list goes on.
“It’s intriguing to see what people are doing, business people and private operators are seeing value in heritage but they are seeing it in a contemporary manner, they are seeing it in a futuristic way, they are not getting rid of it,” she said.
“It’s celebrating our past, looking after the built form as it was because they can see people are intrigued with the stories that go with it and that obviously creates a lot more interest in history.
“So we, as a City, want others to recognise this, we want this story to be told – the restore, the rejuvenate and the renew – that’s what its all about.”
Cr McIntosh is no stranger to rejuvenating old buildings and admits it can be a daunting process.
“Its different to what it was 150 years ago, way back then people didn’t consider all ability access, there wasn’t the same fire response requirements there is today, so there is a whole heap of hurdles that make it difficult,” she said.
“But I think people in our community can see council is working really hard in trying to work with our community.
“There has been a real difference over the last decade, we’ve got heritage awards to celebrate people working with heritage buildings, we’ve got a planning department that encourages people to restore, renew, rejuvenate.”
Cr McIntosh encouraged people to have a look at some of the restorations that have taken place in the CBD and see what can be achieved.
“Our goal, as a city, is to ensure that we celebrate the personality of Ballarat, Ballarat is unique and we want to make sure we absolutely retain the character and charm of Ballarat,” she said.
“The current CBD strategy, which is heavily supported in our current council plan, is working towards protecting these spectacular built form of our city and at the same time responding to the requirements of population growth.
“To do that we really encourage our community to come on board with it and there are many strategies that we have and highlighted in our current council plan to help us achieve that.”