Edith Street Boulevard and Main Street

Innisfail, 1999-2003 by John Mongard Landscape Architects

Project description

Innisfail's art deco main street has been enlivened by the creation of a boulevard linked directly to the river. The traffic through this CBD block has been turned into a one-way system in the first stage. Angle parking was replaced with parallel parking to ease traffic movement. The footpath has been widened to create outdoor sheltered spaces for displays and dining. The southern side of the boulevard provides a multi-use town space, with a formal palm-lined access, linking the lower block of Edith Street to the Cane Cutter Monument and the river. This area has bollards replacing a kerb step up, allowing a much wider range of activities to occur including night markets and an extension of the Harvest Festival activities.

Stage two improved the business heart of the main street with sheltered mini-piazzas at each corner and at its centre, and complements the art deco frontages with clusters of native palms.

What was the trigger for starting the project?

The project was the first built outcome of a community process aimed at achieving consensus on the future vision for the entire town. Faced with the prospect of an additional large box shopping complex on the outskirts of town, this project was the first stage in a series designed to enliven the main street and improve local economic performance.

Community engagement

Over 300 people participated in group processes to provide visions on local identity and to identify practical community issues. A broad awareness of the process was generated by the shopfront workshop, and general exposure to other people's ideas facilitated much discussion.

The following list represents the various interest groups who specifically participated outside of the shopfront: Town Beautification Group; Innisfail State High School - Grade 12 Class; Innisfail District Chamber of Commerce, Industry and Tourism; Johnstone Shire Council Indoor Staff;

Johnstone Shire Council Outdoor Staff; Johnstone Shire Cultural Association; Disability Committee; Local Fabricators; Johnstone Shire Council Indoor Staff - Revegetation Group; Goondi State School - Selected Students Years 5 to 7; Innisfail Art Society; and the Johnstone Shire Council Indoor Staff - Technical Services/Design Group. Local artists and craftspeople provided works during the construction phase. The adjacent courthouse was incorporated into the artworks theming through an art-built in work by a local artist Sam Di ndMauro featuring impressed clay tiles and a cane burning glass mosaic floor.

Benefits/Outcomes

Innisfail now has a Civic Public Space which celebrates the exuberant plantings and diverse cultures of Queensland's wettest town. All new streetscapes feature universal access and the removal of all kerb and channeling.

The pub on the corner has been upgraded to include a new cafe/restaurant on the boulevard frontage, and the courthouse has been integrated into the streetscape works.

The artwork trail that began along the riverfront has been continued into the town centre, creating a tourism and cultural feature. The riverfront toilets and car park have been retrofitted. An interpretive trail commencing at the town's new civic clock binds the works into a cultural experience.

Project implementation

The initial community consultation for the project began in April, 1999. Construction for stage one was completed in early 2000 with construction for stages two and three ending in 2003. A local contractor won the tender to construct the visible/above ground parts of the design. The replacement and upgrading of underground services was done at the same time by the Council.

Obstacles

After 20 years of proposals and inaction there was much community negativity towards main street works. There was much work done in regaining public support for the project as well as in designing a concept that accommodated as many of the town peoples' requirements as possible. Lack of originating funds were compensated by local contractors who banded together to create a cost effective implementation team.

Resources

The Boulevard, Riverside Car Park and Edith works were part of a \$4.5 million dollar regional centres package, with 50/50 funding with the Johnstone Shire Council. The final stage of works is yet to be implemented. No in-kind support was offered, but local contractors built works at discounted prices in stage one to allow works to proceed. All of the labour used for the project was sourced locally, and local materials were used wherever possible.

For Further Information Contact:
John Mongard Landscape Architects
mail@mongard.com.au
Ph: (07) 3844 1932
Fax: (07) 3844 3250