Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio today (July 14) welcomed a pledge by the Federal Member for Groom Garth Hamilton to fight for funding that could help Council progress plans for the next stage of the transformative Toowoomba Railway Parklands project.

Mayor Antonio said Council strongly supported any group that wanted to provide ideas, financial support and constructive concepts that would advance Council’s master plan for the inner city site.

“Council’s master plan has been in place for some years and any offer of financial assistance towards constructing the next stage of this exciting development is welcomed,” Mayor Antonio, who also chairs Toowoomba Regional Council’s Economic Development portfolio, said.

“The next major stage of the Parklands master plan will require between $20 million and $30 million, from an overall project cost estimate of $65 million, to secure a green corridor along the Gowrie Creek corridor and environs.

“I’m encouraged by Mr Hamilton’s firm support for the project and acknowledge his commitment to help Council frame the vision for the Railway Parklands and the wider Priority Development Area (PDA).

“Council has bold ambitions for this site as it offers a once-in-a-generation chance to transform the inner city and create a recreational parkland for residents and visitors.

“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’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.

“This includes high quality parklands surrounded by mixed-use development (retail, businesses and commercial outlets) to encourage more choice in 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.”

Mayor Antonio said Council’s Temporary Toowoomba CBD Development Incentives Policy was aimed at encouraging quality new development and investment across the PDA, especially for the adaptive re-use of heritage listed buildings.

He said Council was undertaking extensive work on the City Centre Action Plan 2031, which was capitalising on the significant investment made in the CBD over the past 10 years.

“The work will identify opportunities and priorities for the next 10 years. These decisions will be informed by the community feedback that was received from the 2020 City Centre Master Plan review, which identified that the Railway Parklands rated as the most important project in the City Centre Master Plan,” Mayor Antonio said.

Council has planned a $15.8 million investment in the Railway Parklands from 2024-25.

In addition to this allocation, the project will require a collaborative funding partnership with the Commonwealth and Queensland governments to reach its potential.

Caption: Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio (left), Federal Member for Groom Garth Hamilton and Toowoomba Chamber of Commerce CEO Todd Rohl discuss funding opportunities for the next stage of TRC’s Toowoomba Railway Parklands project.