Park upgrades fit for a Queen

The temporary fencing has started coming down at Queens Park, marking the final stages of an $8.86 million revitalisation program to transform the popular recreation space.

Featuring major upgrades to services, infrastructure and landscaping, the yearlong project was funded by the Queensland Government in the wake of Cyclone Debbie.

The majority of the park is now open to the public, with only newly turfed areas and isolated work zones, such as the cricket shed and the iconic shelter, to remain temporarily fenced off.

Vehicle access within the park will also remain closed until all work is complete and Orchid House is scheduled to reopen in August once the plants have been relocated to their new home.

Assistant Queensland Treasurer and Member for Mackay Julieanne Gilbert said the works had been a vital job-creator for the city and would deliver important community benefits for many years to come.

“More than 50 local jobs were supported through our investment, which have been especially crucial during the past few months,” Mrs Gilbert said.

“Our local economy took a massive hit after Cyclone Debbie, and it’s hurting during the COVID pandemic, but with the delivery of community infrastructure we can boost our recovery while also improving liveability in Mackay.

“The revitalisation of Queens Park is the first project to be completed as part of the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA), which will help unlock the potential of this key commercial and recreational precinct.

“Now, with restrictions lifting, we encourage locals and visitors alike to come down and enjoy one of the most splendid green spaces in our city.”

Mayor Greg Williamson said the work had not only made a huge improvement to the visual amenity of the park, but also to the provision of the site.

“More than 50 per cent of the total budget spent on this project was put towards underground and drainage works,” Cr Williamson said.

“This involved a major overhaul of the park’s drainage system to improve water dispersion on the site, and the introduction of new underground electrical and water infrastructure to provide better capacity for events.

“New additions to the park’s infrastructure include a new park entrance, shelter and amenities, an off-leash area for dog owners, and a yarning circle that will serve as a meeting place for our city’s traditional custodians.

“Meanwhile, the park’s existing buildings and structures, including Orchid House, have been freshened up, and we’ve planted over 2000 new plants, so the area’s looking better than ever.”

Development in the Mackay Waterfront Priority Development Area (PDA) will revitalise land and infrastructure within Mackay city centre, along Pioneer River waterfront, through Queens Park and along the Binnington Esplanade waterfront.

A small ribbon-cutting ceremony with the Mayor and representatives from the State Government will be held on July 17 at Queens Park to mark the completion of the project.