Ambassador sees opportunity everywhere
We Are Ballarat celebrates all of us – the people who define our city – and aims to empower us to work towards the strengthening of Ballarat’s social fabric.
HISTORY, heritage, and a strong sense of community. These are some of the words We Are Ballarat Ambassador Mr Mark Guirguis associates with Ballarat.
But there’s also another term that has been floating around his mind of late.
“I think the word I would use is opportunity. That is really at the forefront of my mind at the moment,” he said.
According to the Ballarat-based ear nose throat surgeon, his hometown is currently going through a period of change, making it an especially exciting place to live.
“I see Ballarat as being in a period of transition,” Mr Guirguis said.
“I look at what’s happening here at the moment – we’ve got the infrastructure, we’ve got the beautiful boulevards, we’ve got the beautiful city, the historic streets and the amazing lake – but there’s a sense of change.
“When I was walking along Armstrong Street, that increase in foot traffic, I think those sorts of things make people quite excited that Ballarat is changing and changing for the better.”
Having spent years undertaking philanthropic work for Ballarat, and as the founder of the Guirguis New Art Prize, Mr Guirguis has high hopes for the future of his city, particularly in the aftermath of the COVID-19 crisis.
“I’d love to see industry grow in Ballarat. I have a vision to see us as a tech centre for Australia. I think that would be amazing,” he said.
“I’d love to see it as somewhere where people can study, work, grow up, be educated, and retire, make full use of the health services and have a wonderful life.”
While the city undergoes a period of recovery, Mr Guirguis said it was important for residents to get out there and explore all of its offerings and uncover the new and emerging experiences along with family and friends.
“Go and explore what’s actually out there. I find it amazing the things associated with Ballarat that you may not have even realised,” he said.
“Walk the lake, go down Armstrong Street, wander around the small streets of Soldiers Hill, explore what’s new, look at those places that have changed and see what’s going on locally.
“The amazing hospitality entrepreneurs that are popping up everywhere, the younger generation that are really forging a new identity for Ballarat, and just exploring all those possibilities – supporting those people and spreading the word – these are ways we can bind together and really make Ballarat an enviable place to be.”
By rallying the community in a spirit of support and togetherness, and with the vision of recovery firm in our minds, we can propel our city forward. We are Ballarat. And we are all in this together.
Find out more at weareballarat.com.au.