Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Back to the Future for Master Plan

Newspaper article The Chronicle (Toowoomba, Australia)

Back to the Future for Master Plan

Article excerpt

Byline: Chris Calcino chris.calcino@thechronicle.com.au

Toowoomba City Centre Master Plan

Created by Toowoomba Regional Council in 2010 as a "living document" to shape inner-city development to 2031

Subject to revisions as each milestone is reached, including public consultation

HIGH-RISE buildings, boutique shops and small pockets of inner-city parkland are all envisaged for Toowoomba by 2031.

It has been four years since council released its Toowoomba City Centre Master Plan a[pounds sterling] the "living document" which will continue to drive development for the next 17 years.

Several giant leaps have been made since its publication.

QIC has signed on for a $330million redevelopment of Gardentown and Grand Central shopping centres, and the "under-used" Toowoomba Foundry has been bought by Bunning's Warehouse.

Work is also underway on the inner-city ring road a[pounds sterling] a major component of the traffic-mitigation steps outlined in the plan.

The plan makes several references to "linked public spaces", of which the planned Sew Handy laneway on Ruthven St is the first step.

Much has been done, but a revisit to the document reveals plenty more work is in store.

In 2010, council budgeted for a $17.45million upgrade to the Milne Bay Aquatic Centre, which included the potential for opening a second pool.

Refurbishing the RSL building on Ruthven St was expected to cost council $3.3million, although an initial push to get work underway has come to a standstill.

The Toowoomba Regional Art Gallery is also in line for a $2.56million upgrade, alongside City Hall, which was allocated a $5.14million renovation.

The monetary figures were based on 2010 costs and projected increases in labour and materials expenses were not taken into account.

Each of the separate projects fall into an overall plan to create an overarching Civic Precinct behind City Hall, as well as a Garden Square Precinct bordering Ruthven, Neil and Margaret Sts.

It is within these precincts that things really get interesting.

Civic Precinct

THE planned demolition of the back half of the Toowoomba RSL building is key to creating a "civic open space" - a mixture of parkland, shops, cafes and artwork. …

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