Thursday, December 9, 2010

Work starts on CBD Howard Smith Wharf redevelopment

Work has started on the redevelopment of one of Brisbane's last remaining pieces of untouched riverfront land.

Most of the 3.5 hectare site is expected to be made into public space at the end of the $17 million project that will transform the disused wharf into a park. It had been a concrete wasteland since it was last used in the 1980s.

Lord Mayor Campbell Newman said $4.1 million would be spent on a "super park", including planting 220 mature trees, 4200 square metres of turf and 2200 square metres of garden beds. Barbeques, picnic tables, and a children's playground will be installed and visitors will be able to access a grassy hill with views of the river and a rock climbing platform.

An air-conditioned glass elevator is to be built to provide easy access from the top of the cliffs.
Councillor Newman said $8.5 million would be used to restore and maintain the heritage wharf and buildings, which were last used in the 1980s by the water police.

“We are returning the Howard Smith Wharves back to the people of Brisbane as part of my vision to create a city of attractive parks, with at least 80 per cent of the site to remain open public space.”

He said timber would be used where possible during the remaining restoration works to match the heritage values of the site.

About 10 per cent of the site has been allocated for retail development, which could include a boutique hotel.

Council backed down from its original development plans when residents, led by Labor Councillor David Hinchliffe, threatened action in the Planning and Environment Court.

But in August the council rezoned the area to allow construction to go ahead, albeit with amended plans that include more open space and limiting the height of the hotel to the level of the clifftop.

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