CITY of Ballarat Mayor Cr Samantha McIntosh and CEO Justine Linley have met with local prospectors to reiterate their support for fossicking in the region’s goldfields.
Thursday’s meeting demonstrated the City of Ballarat’s support for local prospectors and miners’ rights, and helped highlight the positive impact the Goldfields: Australia’s Premier Heritage Region project will have for businesses and the community.
The meeting further highlighted the cultural importance of creating worldwide awareness of the Victorian Goldfields region following renewed interest in progressing the Goldfields: Australia’s Premier Heritage Region project. The Goldfields: Australia’s Premier Heritage Region project aims to achieve recognition of the strong cultural value of our region, and subsequently drive population growth, enhance liveability and increase visitation numbers to the Victorian Goldfields area. The core vision of the project is to create worldwide awareness of the Goldfields : Australia’s Premier Heritage Region by:
• Caring for, and reusing, the unique assets of the Goldfields region to attract domestic and international tourists, new businesses and new residents. • Tapping the Goldfields region’s traditional creativity and helping vibrant communities treasure the best of the golden past while making a significant economic and cultural contribution to the future. • Assisting villages, towns and cities grow, consistent with their founders’ vision to meet practical needs whilst celebrating democratic ideals, excellence in the creative arts and architecture, and economic opportunity for all. Cr McIntosh explained that the Council Plan has a big focus on CBD strategy and looks at respecting our past and doing whatever they could with the heritage in the middle of town, which is a lot about Ballarat’s gold rush history.
“We heard a lot of conversations coming up from the past about the Golden Triangle which Ballarat, Bendigo and Castlemaine,” she said. “There was a meeting that we attended and as a result of that there was a newspaper article and a lot of concern came out of that. “And the concern was some of the prospectors thought we would be making that whole area World Heritage Listed, which could mean there would be not as much access.
“What our goal is, is to absolutely embrace our history and heritage and spaces and we are not talking about closing anything down, we are not talking about changing any opportunity for people to be able to access those spaces.” Council wants to encourage the public to use those spaces, encourage them to learn about these places but importantly to do what is best not just for Ballarat but for all three towns. Cr McIntosh wanted to allay any concerns prospectors had and said the heritage listing would apply to specific sites such as the Castlemaine diggings and not the entire region.