Toowoomba mayor Paul Antonio has defended the character of the Bridge Street Quarry Development Advisory Committee set up to review the post-life use of a century-old quarry.
The Bridge Street Quarry Development Advisory Committee (BSQDAC) has been set up to supply leadership, advice and recommendations on the principles and strategic direction, recommendations, investment and market opportunities of a dormant quarry development.
The Bridge Street Quarry was used for more than one hundred years and is today owned by the Toowoomba Regional Council. Development plans have been ongoing since 1995 to rehabilitate the site into a parks and gardens tourist attraction.
The committee’s membership consists of 15 members and three additional external advisors to develop the site in line with the Bridge Street Quarry Redevelopment Feasibility Study 2018, published by KPMG. Eight of the committee members are councillors.
“The chair of the advisory committee, who has been put forward, Councillor Kerry Shine, is passionate about the Quarry Gardens and is also a very balanced advocate,” Antonio told the ABC.
“There are many external groups on that committee but the ultimate decision, the recommendation of the advisory committee, will come to council for endorsement or otherwise.”
Antonio’s comments follow accusations by chair of the Friends of the Quarry Gardens group Sarah Delahunty that the committee lacks adequate community representatives.
“It has eight council staff on there, so over half of the committee is then made up of Council,” she said.
A $3.3 million budget was announced for the project earlier in the year with applications now sent to the Queensland state government.
It is hoped the Bridge Street Quarry Gardens, if it comes to fruition, could potentially rival other former quarries which have been transformed into prestigious gardens and tourist spots, including Canada’s Butchart Gardens and the UK’s Eden Project.