SOS Ballarat has been working with other groups within the Ballarat Community, on a range of issues that will impact on Ballarat.
SOS Ballarat recognizes that the failure of the Andrews Government to
invest in improvements for train commuters using the Station (which is the
only one on the Ballarat-Melbourne line which is not being refurbished as part of the $557m spend currently occurring on the line) has left many aggrieved parties. Key amongst them are Grampians disAbility Advocacy Inc. and the Disability Discrimination Legal Service. SOS Ballarat has been working carefully and purposefully with these bodies. Expect to hear more about this relationship in the weeks and months ahead.
With the private developer of the Ballarat Station Precinct Redevelopment
effectively getting a subsidy of $27m to compete against existing Ballarat businesses already active in the accommodation market and the convention market, they rightly question the fairness of this arrangement. They get no subsidies, have often been long-term investors through their businesses within Ballarat, and operate in already marginal markets (occupancy rates in Ballarat average in the low 50% area). As a result of discussions with SOS Ballarat, a Ballarat Accommodation Providers group has formed and is affiliated with the Ballarat Chamber of Commerce.
When the Station Redevelopment is completed, the amount of hard-standing
area that will shed water quickly during rain events will have gone from a little over 1 hectare to more than 5 hectares. The Station sits above the Yarrowee River, which runs directly under the Bridge Mall. SOS Ballarat has alerted the Bridge Mall Manager to their vulnerability during storms unless adequate stormwater detention is built into the project. It is understood that the design capacity for part of the development has been signed-off, but that is not the whole site. The traders have not yet taken any action on their own behalves, but would be well advised to look out actively for their own interests. The last thing they or Ballarat needs is a recurrence of the flooding that went through the Bridge Mall in
Members of the SOS Ballarat Inc Committee are involved in a variety of
heritage groups, including Ballarat Heritage Watch, The National Trust and
the Ballarat Rail Promotions Group. Many of the broader SOS Followers are
associated with one or more of these groups.
SOS Ballarat has a good working relationship with the Ballarat Chapter of
the Public Transport Users Association (PTUA), which is keen to see better
facilities and infrastructure for train and bus patrons particularly. The two groups share similar interests in ensuring Ballarat Station provides a 21st-century transport hub experience for all commuters.