Is decade old plan to jumpstart CBD outdated?

STREET art telling 'tall stories' of Gladstone's history, a huge shade sail covering the end of Goondoon St and a swimming lagoon at East Shores --- this was all once part of the vision for the CBD.

The 2006 CBD revitalisation plan is a detailed document that even names the finishings on the drinking fountains and public seats.

But that was 10 years ago and now Gladstone Regional Council wants to know if we need a new plan to breathe life back into the city centre.

In 2006 Gladstone was a city plodding along steadily, on the cusp of one of the biggest industrial booms in Queensland's history.

Peter Corones was mayor and four of today's councillors; Gail Sellers, Rick Hansen, Col Chapman and Matt Burnett were on the council who formed the 2006 CBD plan.

Extract from the Gladstone City Council 2006 CBD plan which includes 'ash receptacles'.
Extract from the Gladstone City Council 2006 CBD plan which includes 'ash receptacles'. Helen Spelitis

Since then more than 25,000 workers building the three LNG plants on Curtis Island have moved through the city.

Three corporate giants, Queensland Gas Corporation QCLNG, Santos GLNG and Origin Energy APLNG have now permanently set up in our backyard bringing at least another 450 permanent jobs across the three plants on Curtis Island.

Some of the projects in the 2006 CBD revitalisation plan have already been built such as Library Square and the Civic Square outside council chambers.

Thanks to Gladstone Ports Corporation East Shores has started to take shape as an integral part of the vision to bring the CBD traffic down to the water's edge.

More apartment blocks have popped up and higher density housing have been built around Goondoon St.

But for years retailers have been moving out of the city centre into shopping centres such as Stockland at Kin Kora.

>>Councillor demands CBD be made a priority

>>Study to identify sites for new CBD car park

Once the $160 million redevelopment --- which is expected to get the nod by March if Stockland wants the $500,000 discount on offer from the council --- is finished, there will be space for 160 shops making it almost as big as Stockland Rockhampton.

The council has admitted that while they're calling for suggestions from residents at a public forum next week called Jumpstart Our City Heart, there's no money set aside in the budget for projects.

Extract from the Gladstone City Council 2006 CBD explaining the shade structure known as the Harbour Arbour.
Extract from the Gladstone City Council 2006 CBD explaining the shade structure known as the Harbour Arbour.

Town planner Steve Enders says the council's leadership is essential to encourage development in the CBD which they could do by offering discounts for example like others councils such as Gympie and Rockhampton. 

"The council should offer economic incentives to get things happening," Mr Enders said.

"That could be reductions in infrastructure charges or concessions to get developers interested in investing in the CBD."

It's a question of the chicken or the egg.

Council CEO Stuart Randle says while the council can offer incentives, developing the CBD is not just a council responsibility.

"The creation of public space is a council investment, but that has to be tied in with the development of private property," Mr Randle said.

"The timing of private property being redeveloped dictates when the council will puts its developments in place."

The square opposite the council chambers is set for a makeover this year, which could be what has sparked the conversation now - although the council isn't admitting that.

"Right now we are really just asking the community for their ideas," Mr Randle said.

Follow this reporter on Twitter @helenspelitis



From cents to thousands: Quota’s generous gift

premium_icon From cents to thousands: Quota’s generous gift

Local school receives generous donation from proceeds of the hard work of a...

Donation of water making a big splash

premium_icon Donation of water making a big splash

COMMUNITY spirit is flowing in Gladstone and Tannum Sands as shoppers rally behind...

Rare holiday home on the market

premium_icon Rare holiday home on the market

A RARE buying opportunity has hit the market in Agnes Water - perfect for a holiday...