Artwork donated – City of Ballarat council meeting briefs

December 22, 2021 BY

Pawesome: Dogs and cats across the City of Ballarat now have updated rules to live by after councillors passed a new Domestic Animal Management Plan. Photo: FILE

CITY of Ballarat councillors came together for their final meeting of the year last Wednesday, 15 December, when they accepted a new donation to the Public Art Collection.

Community group The Friends of Learmonth offered the piece, named The Boat, to the City.

The sculpture was commissioned in 2011 and was created by Ratartat, or artists Geoff Bonney and Peter Widmer, and students at Learmonth Primary School.

It is located on the foreshore of Lake Learmonth and Cr Des Hudson said it would add to public art pieces outside of Ballarat’s metro area.

“We have commissioned pieces of public art from time to time for the beautification of a whole range of areas and it was only through our Public Art Advisory Committee that we began actually delivering public art out into the suburbs and away from the CBD, which was very pleasing,” he said.

“The commission of The Boat by Ratartat… who created that working with the local community, we were able to do that when Learmonth was completely dry, and it was a celebration of the dry lakebed.”

The piece has an estimated maintenance cost of about $4000-$5000 every 10 years.


Tender awarded

Construction management business Plan Group will head the almost $4.8 million Wendouree West Recreation Reserve upgrades.

The major works include the development of a community hub, sports pavilion, changerooms and a Men’s Shed.

The project is funded by the State Government and is part of the wider Strengthening Wendouree Community Recreation Precinct Project worth $7 million.

Mayor Cr Daniel Moloney said the upgrades were needed for the Wendouree West community after missing out on financial support in the past.

“This is a community that has had a pretty tough run. It hasn’t, to be honest, received all that much from any tier of government,” he said.

He noted it was “a bit tight” to decide the successful tenderer as there was a strong local component among candidates.

The final choice was made based on which company produced the best value for money score, according to the City.


Pandemic plan in progress

Councillors were updated on the progress of the COVID-19 Response, Reactivation and Recovery Plan throughout this year.

The plan was first created in the early stages of the pandemic last year and its current focus is on initiatives aimed at supporting residents and local businesses respond to impacts of the global crisis.

Its three key areas surround community, business and economy, and advocacy, with initiatives including waivers on a range of municipal fees, deferrals for rate instalment payments and the Be Kind Ballarat marketing campaign.

Some waivered fees will be carried over to early next year for review, including outdoor dining, A-frame signage and Local Law activity permit fees, and Cr Mark Harris said the work was not over yet.

“The pandemic recovery remains absolutely a moveable feast,” he said. “There’s still more to go.”

Cr Moloney echoed Cr Harris’ comments and expressed gratitude to the public for their efforts.

“This is two years like none of us could ever have predicted, it’s constantly changing, and I also thank the Ballarat community for getting so strongly behind [it],” he said.


Animal plan in action

The Domestic Animal Management Plan for 2021 to 2024 has come into effect following community consultation on its draft version in September.

The plan outlines how household cats and dogs can be managed across the municipality, particularly in relation to their welfare and responsible pet ownership, through 12 objectives.

Thirteen responses to the document were received, five of which mistook it for a Planning and Environment Act directive, and Cr Hudson noted he expected more feedback.

Related responses included overall support for the plan to educate owners, provide community assistance and drive down euthanasia rates across the region.

A new animal shelter was also advocated for by members of the public to replace the more than 80-year-old facility on Gillingham Place in Alfredton.

The City has previously stated it is seeking government funding for such a project in the lead up to next year’s Federal and State elections.

Cr Ben Taylor briefly raised the issue of a 24-hour cat confinement rule, urging councillors to support the cause.

Ballarat cats are currently under a curfew from sunset to sunrise in an effort to safeguard wildlife and reduce complaints around noise and trespassing.


Designers designated

Twenty-eight people have been appointed members of the new Design Review Panel.

Council first voted to establish the panel at their 25 August meeting as a group of professionals offering expert advice to developers and designers for their projects across the region.

Six people are existing members of the Victorian Design Review Panel, while others have backgrounds in architecture, urban design and more.


Save the dates

Councillors looked ahead to their meetings next year, making public their schedule for the gatherings.

They will meet on the fourth Wednesday of each month at 6.30pm, except for January as the meeting would have fallen on Australia Day.

The schedule has been planned to reflect similar councils including Greater Bendigo and Greater Geelong.

An unscheduled council meeting for the mayoral election has also been set for 7 November and Planning Delegated Committee meetings will fall on the second Wednesday of each month except for January.