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The Toowoomba Railway Parklands project is one step closer, following a funding announcement on Monday 21 March as part of the SEQ City Deal.
With all three levels of government coming together for the project, Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) Mayor Paul Antonio said the $25 million in funding would be the launching pad for the parklands.
“This is a once-in-a-generation project that will be a tourism attraction for our Region and will incentivise development in our Priority Development Area, opening up significant opportunities for residents and business,” Mayor Antonio said.
“While the overall project is expected to cost more than $80 million and will be delivered across multiple stages, this funding allows us to get the ball rolling.
“Ideally we would love to have the parklands in place as soon as possible, however, realistically we’re looking more at a 4-5 year timeframe for the initial passive park with site investigations to commence in the 2022/23 year.
“Before we can begin work we’ll need to undertake pre-construction studies such as contaminated land, hydraulic (creek), environmental, heritage (including Indigenous heritage) and traffic that will inform the final design.
“Once we have this information we would then begin site decontamination works and community engagement as we progress towards the construction phase.
“Once the passive park is established, this will then enable the site to be opened to the public, leveraging the existing amenity/facility of the Goods Shed and improve active transport connections through the site. Further elements could then continue to be added over future years.”
TRC Planning and Development Committee Chair Cr Megan O’Hara Sullivan said the parklands would act as a catalyst for prospective investment by private and public organisations in surrounding commercial and residential areas located in the Priority Development Area.
“The vision for the parklands concept design draws strongly on the site’s railway heritage and its alignment with Gowrie Creek. The parkland concept design reflects and capitalises on future opportunities around water, play and connectivity with surrounding urban areas. It draws on the unique aesthetic aspects of the creek location,” she said.
“Council has identified several strong design elements for the project, including a green corridor along Gowrie Creek, incorporating investments like an active transport route, and hydraulic infrastructure to alleviate potential flooding and connectivity of northern suburbs with the CBD.
“Privately owned land within the Priority Development Area primarily will be developed by the development sector over the next 20 to 30 years.
“Council’s vision is for an urban village, with a green heart to cater for a projected inner-urban population, as outlined in the City Centre Master Plan.”This includes: