Council has confirmed it will partake in the Bendigo GovHub by selling the site of its Lyttleton Terrace offices and becoming a tenant in the $90m state government development.
Six councillors voted for the proposal during last night's council meeting, with two against and one abstaining.
Councillors debated the merits of the proposal, and the way the city's involvement had been conducted, for about an hour.
Deputy mayor Matt Emond also addressed issues related to the GovHub proposal in his report at the beginning of the meeting, reflecting on issues such as the role of councillors and councils in making decisions for the community.
He was one of six councillors who voted in favour of the GovHub, along with mayor Margaret O'Rourke, Cr Rod Fyffe, Cr Susie Hawke, Cr Malcolm Pethybridge and Cr James Williams.
Councillors George Flack and Andrea Metcalf opposed the motion, while councillor Jennifer Alden abstained from voting.
Last night's decision followed an in-principle decision councillors made in February 2019 to sell the land at Lyttleton Terrace to the government to make way for the 1000-desk building, and to lease offices in the development.
The proposed GovHub was factored into the city's draft budget, with $6m expected to be received through the sale of the land and state government funding.
The City of Greater Bendigo estimated the project's total cost to ratepayers at $35.6 million over 40 years.
The land was valued at $5.5 million.
Elements of the Bendigo GovHub proposal excited controversy, with some ratepayers forming an alliance to raise concerns about issues such as transparency, the sale of the land, and the costs associated with leasing offices in the GovHub.
This was reflected in some of the councillors' comments, with Cr Metcalf echoing concerns about a perceived lack of consultation and Cr Flack suggesting the council could have looked to other opportunities to finance building new offices.
Part of Cr Alden's decision to abstain from the vote was distain for being treated "like a rubber stamp", having raised concerns around the GovHub being perceived as "a foregone conclusion".
She also raised a point in relation to consideration of parking in the GovHub plans.
Others, like the mayor, were wholeheartedly behind the project and cited its benefits for Bendigo
The City of Greater Bendigo has maintained it is selling the land in accordance with Section 191 of the Local Government Act 1989, when asked about consultation requirements.
More to come.