Heritage Victoria has granted development approval for a $50-million revitalisation of the Ballarat Station precinct. The project, which was issued a Heritage Victoria permit this week, would ensure the preservation of significant elements within and around the station.
One of the centrepieces of the revitalisation will be the preservation of key heritage features within the Goods Shed, a 19th-century bluestone structure that has been plagued by asbestos, water damage, termite infestation, vandalism and general deterioration. As part of the planned Goods Shed restoration – estimated to cost $4 million – the site will be cleaned up, restored, and re-opened to the public.
Under the newly approved plans, existing railway tracks to the east of the Goods Shed will be restored and incorporated into the development. The site’s heritage will also be celebrated with the creation of an illustrated history, to be put on public display at the Goods Shed, and protected with a new covenant that will prohibit any future development between the former railway buildings and Nolan Street.
“In order to maintain the prominence and setting of the Goods Shed on the site, further development in the areas between it and the railway station buildings and Nolan Street will be prohibited by a legally binding covenant under the Heritage Act 1995,” reads a statement released by the Victorian premier’s office.
“Such investment and conditions imposed on the development of the site will protect local heritage. An interpretation of the former timber hut over the North Weighbridge scale, burnt down in 2014, will be built to protect the remaining weighbridge scales.”
A number of cultural and retail projects will form part of the estimated total cost of $50 million, including a new convention and events centre, a Quest Apartment Hotel, shops, restaurants and a public plaza. $5 million has been allocated towards the construction of a dedicated bus interchange for the precinct.
A mixture of private and government investment is being used to fund the project, including a $25-million donation from the Labor Government.
“This is a proud day for Ballarat and our future just got brighter,” says member for Wendouree, Sharon Knight. “Finally, we will breathe new life back into our historic site while preserving the heart and soul of the Goods Shed.”