Lifestyle

“The city is looking very tired and drab." Rouchecouste said

Rockhampton Regional Council invited Gilbert Rochecouste to visit the city to discuss ideas to revitalise the CBD. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin
Rockhampton Regional Council invited Gilbert Rochecouste to visit the city to discuss ideas to revitalise the CBD. Photo: Chris Ison / The Morning Bulletin Chris Ison

AS A strong regional Queensland city, Rockhampton has the goods to become a smaller-scale version of Melbourne.

The first step towards this dream, for Melbourne placemaking connoisseur Gilbert Rouchecouste, involved a bucket and mop, a broom and a tidy attitude.

Mr Rouchecouste met more than 40 of Rockhampton's strongest key stakeholders on Thursday night to discuss the next move towards creating "our dream city".

He believed the first place to start was a CBD clean-up.

"The city is looking very tired and drab. There are 30 dead shop fronts and the footpaths are stained ... just clean it, blitz it and refresh the place," he said. "Shop fronts can be put to use even when they're empty."

He said Rockhampton needed to ditch the negativity and enhance its best features: Quay St, its heritage buildings and the Fitzroy River bank.

The more than 40 stakeholders, including local property developers, East St shop owners and Rockhampton Regional Council officials, workshopped ideas on how they would like to see the CBD take shape.

"In the early 1980s, the only things Melbourne had was the Yarra River and the heritage buildings ... that's Rocky on a smaller scale," Mr Rouchecouste said.

"Rockhampton needs to re-embrace the river because there is so much potential to turn Quay St and the CBD into an eat street."

Mr Rouchecouste said Queensland cities and regional towns, with rivers cutting through their central business district, struggled to adopt "the Melbourne style" because "it has never been done on a riverbank" other than places like South Bank.

At the workshop, key stakeholders resolved to organise a leadership group to discuss ideas to rejuvenate the CBD.

"I have planted the seed, the rest is up to you (Rockhampton)," he said.

Mr Rochecouste has overseen hundreds of similar projects across Australia, including Brisbane's Fortitude Valley, Sydney's Oxford St and Adelaide's Rundle St Mall, as well as regional centres such as Bendigo and Ballarat.

Topics:  east st, fitzroy river, rockhampton cbd



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