Rockhampton riverbank plans make an impression
IMAGINE strolling along a sprawling riverfront boardwalk, picturesque mountain ranges to one side and the city's cultural precinct on the other.
Families are enjoying cascading water play areas, public art and entertainment day and night.
It's a vision which is one step closer to becoming reality with the release of the artist's impressions of Rockhampton Regional Council's riverbank redevelopment.
The plans show a dramatic transformation for both the existing low bank and the high bank along Quay St, which will become a "shared space" open to traffic and pedestrians.
Mayor Margaret Strelow described the plans, designed by consulting firm Urbis and McMurtrie Consulting Engineers, as a "very sophisticated and elegant response" to council's proposal.
"I think this is long overdue," she said.
"We're seeing this as an area that will let us engage more with the river.
"At the moment, there are these railings that say 'thus far and no further shall you go' and we're really keen to break that down.
"We will end up with much bigger spaces on the riverbank for us to have our community activities and festivities."
Inspired by Brighton in the UK, council plans to level the road, creating a seamless space to be used as road way or closed off for public events.
Cr Strelow said this would require "total re-engineering" and a change in community thinking about the street.
"There's still plenty of parking, there's much wider footpaths, much better opportunity when we want to close the space for us to have a great public square, but the price of that is when you come down Quay St, you might be driving at 10km/hr," she said.
In summer, families can take advantage of the cascading zero-depth water play area which becomes an amphitheatre when the water is turned off.
Along with a $15 million investment from the State Government, council will contribute $5 million towards construction.
"We've got enough money to deliver the high bank and the first stage of the low bank," Cr Strelow said.
"We have lodged applications for additional funding from the Federal Government for the low bank area and hopefully, if we secure that, then we can continue to deliver even further along the river."
Work is expected to start on the high bank at Quay St in September, with the space completed before the 2016 River Festival.
Cr Strelow said work on the low bank wouldn't begin until a decision was made on the application from the Federal Government, which is expected in December.
But she said a hold on that delay wasn't necessarily bad, giving council and the community time to understand and approve all elements of the design.
"We want to treat this like a once in a lifetime opportunity, so there's various elements we need to incorporate to make this space become a destination for generations to come," Cr Strelow said.
Public consultation on the plans will run for six weeks.
The plan includes:
A sustainable, wet play zone
Wi-Fi available throughout the CBD
Boardwalk including shaded seating areas
LED lighting to facilitate night time use
Fully accessible amenities block
Interactive water features and functional art integrated into the overall design
Spaces for pop-up café facilities
From both Denham and William Sts, jetties will project over the water at the same height as Quay St and provides shade underneath and a boardwalk above