The Bridge Street Quarry redevelopment in Toowoomba headed the list of trade opportunities during week-long Access NZ visit last month by a 70-member business delegation that included Toowoomba Regional Council (TRC) mayor Paul Antonio.
Antonio said the study tour gave valuable insights into projects that provided very real opportunities for Toowoomba Region businesses.
“The real value of this visit is in not ‘re-inventing the wheel’ and instead learning from the experience of those that have completed similar projects. If council is serious about the Bridge Street Quarry, it is important we learn from our New Zealand counterparts who have done this all before,” Antonio said.
Antonio met with the Whangarei Quarry Gardens Trust – which presides over the 25ha community garden project created in a disused stone quarry – and said it had “strong alignment with our own ambitions for the Bridge Street Quarry”.
“A project like the Bridge Street Quarry redevelopment is too important to get wrong and mistakes in the development of such a proposal would only cost the community. This visit provided council with the opportunity to learn from the people directly involved in creating the gardens from its inception 20 years ago,” Antonio said.
The delegates learnt about the vital role of volunteers, the importance of master planning, engaging with commercial interests early and the value of getting the correct governance structures in place before proceeding with such a major revitalisation project.
“Our region already has the landscape, the climate and the location for these types of developments, but we need to understand the best way of undertaking them, ensuring they are feasible, affordable and a priority for us,” Antonio added.
The TRC, in conjunction with the incorporated Friends of the Quarry Gardens, is currently conducting a $250,000 Queensland Government-funded feasibility study to decide the best future development of the Bridge Street Quarry. The idle site was used for more than 100 years and is owned by the council.
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