Toowoomba Regional Council revisited the plan ahead of next year’s budget to turn the disused quarry into a garden and hotel precinct. The Prince Henry Heights quarry gardens project was extensively planned way back in 2003 by the then mayor Di Thorley.
In July last year, Toowoomba Regional councillor Sue Englart threw her support behind the push to get it back on to the council agenda. “Our first interest is to get the project back on the agenda. As for funding, that will be determined afterwards,” said Cr Englart. “It is time we start selling Toowoomba as the Garden City once again, not as the gateway to a quarry or mines.”
In 2012 Cr Englart said funding for the project would to be determined at a later date. However, the cost is substantial. The Prince Henry Heights quarry gardens were to cost council $60 million when the idea was first floated in 2003. That has now reached $84 million and grows by 3.5 per cent a year.
Cr Chris Tait said the price was too steep for council without investment from the hotel sector. “It’s just not going to fly as a straight gardens,” he said. The quarry gardens have failed to make council’s wish list for a new round of Council of Mayors “investment attraction” lobbying. Redeveloping rail land in the city centre into a “Railyards Precinct” urban village was chosen instead.
A joint Toowoomba Regional Council corporate office and civic square redevelopment also failed to make the cut. Each council could only choose one major project for inclusion in the lobbying campaign.
Sources: The Chronicle, The Queensland Times