BALLARAT’S role on the World League of Historical Cities is vitally important, according to Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh. “After all, Ballarat holds one of only seven seats on the WLHC board, out of 113 member cities – when even towns like Rome, Vienna and Venice don’t,” Cr McIntosh said. Cr McIntosh said membership of the WLHC is $100 a year and the total economic benefits of being part of the World League of Historical Cities far outweigh the costs – and are estimated at about $480,000.
•hosting 200 international delegates at the WLHC Conference in 2006, with economic benefits of $145,000
•the Historic Urban Landscape program, with multiple international conferences held in Ballarat, with economic benefits of $150,000
•Attraction of quality experienced staff to the City of Ballarat, providing economic benefits of $50,000
•In-kind contributions from international research institutions, with economic benefits of $100,000
•Grant funding and sponsorships as WLHC board member, with economic benefits of $35,000.
Cr McIntosh said there are also Friendship City and other trade and manufacturing opportunities with international cities such as Yangzhou, China, research and development partnerships with international universities, and relationships with the United Nations Global Compact Cities Program, which provides Ballarat with potential access to international investment markets. “One of the greatest initiatives to have come out of our World League of Historical Cities connections has been the Historic Urban Landscape Program,” she said.
“The City of Ballarat was the first local government in the world to pilot UNESCO’s HUL approach in 2013, which has transformed Ballarat’s approach to dealing with change in our historic city, including a Ballarat HUL website and a HUL guidebook.” Cr McIntosh said HUL also provides the methodology for a series of Local Area Plans, including Ballarat East, Reimagining Main Road, and the Miners Rest Heritage Trail. “What we also know is that the great cities of the world who protect their heritage financially benefit from it,” she said.
“Since we’ve been a member of the World League of Historical Cities, some of the other more tangible benefits have been the introduction of our Heritage Awards, for businesses and organisations that are helping to protect our city’s best asset, and a Heritage Advisor, who helps them with the best way to do that. “This connection also takes Ballarat to the world stage and helps attract international visitors to Ballarat.”