The first stage of bold plans to transform Toowoomba’s Railway Parklands were revealed at today’s (24 April) official opening of the $10 million Railway Goods Shed refurbishment project, jointly funded by the Queensland Government and Toowoomba Regional Council.
Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio said the opening of the heritage-listed Railway Goods Shed marked the completion of Stage One of the Toowoomba Railway Parklands Master Plan and the wider Priority Development Area (PDA).
“Council thanks the Queensland Government for its $5 million contribution provided through the Building our Regions program,” Mayor Antonio said.
“It’s an exciting day to link a facility so entwined with the region’s early railway history to a bright new era for our rapidly evolving CBD.
“I’m positive that the revitalised Railway Goods Shed will become a valued, mixed use community and events facility.
“A facility of this size offers new business development opportunities and also promises to host events that will draw visitors to the region.
“The Railway Goods Shed is conveniently nestled in an area that will continue to evolve as a popular focal point for residents and visitors, businesses and commercial outlets.”
Minister for State Development, Manufacturing, Infrastructure and Planning Cameron Dick said the Palaszczuk Government is invested in regional Queensland.
“By working with councils to identify the projects that will create local jobs and open up more opportunities, we are ensuring that regional communities like Toowoomba have the valuable infrastructure in place to forge ahead,” Mr Dick said.
Mayor Antonio said Council was framing the vision for the wider PDA and creating the Railway Parklands.
“Council has bold ambitions for this site as it offers a once-in-a-generation chance to transform the inner city,” Mayor Antonio said.
“Council envisages that the parklands surrounding the Railway Goods Shed will be developed in stages with timing subject to available funding support.
“The rest of the PDA will be developed by the private sector over the next 20 to 30 years with the parkland being a catalyst for that investment.”
Council last week adopted amendments to the Temporary Toowoomba CBD Development Incentives Policy that has extended the eligible area to align with the entire PDA.
Mayor Antonio said the incentives scheme was aimed at encouraging quality new development and investment across the PDA, especially for the adaptive re-use of heritage listed buildings.
“Council’s longer-term vision is for an urban village to help cater for the projected population growth in coming decades, as outlined in our City Centre Master Plan,” Mayor Antonio said.
“This includes high quality parklands surrounded by mixed-use development to encourage inner city living and recreation activities and venues.
“The Toowoomba Railway Parklands site is an excellent example of urban renewal and will provide a significant economic development opportunity for businesses from Victoria Street north to Bridge Street.
“The rich traditions of our railway history have received due recognition and positioned the Railway Goods Shed to be a key site beside future development plans.”
Mayor Antonio thanked all contractors for their work, especially Sims White (lead architect), Kehoe Myers (lead engineer consultant) and Newlands Commercial Construction (main construction contractor), in addition to Council’s teams.
• 7 tonnes of structural steel brackets,
• 3 tonnes of fixings and bolts,
• Recycled timber sourced from across Australia,
• Railway tracks recycled from the site,
• 610m² of internal deck with 550m² of original timber reused,
• 220m² of external decking,
• 68 car parks,
• 1500m² of turf,
• 1100m3 of concrete,
• 35 tonnes of steel reinforcement.
Residents are invited to inspect the refurbished Railway Goods Shed, (access via Victoria Street), with free organised tours scheduled on Sunday, April 28 at 1pm, 2pm or 3pm.
Anyone interested in joining one of the tours can reserve a place by calling Council on 131 872 during normal business hours or by visiting https://www.eventbrite.com.au/e/the-goods-shed-open-day-tickets-60448198188