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July 12 2017: Revitalising Innisfail's CBD

Revitalising Innisfail's CBD - Council partners with James Cook University

Fresh ideas for Innisfail's central business district and esplanade are part of an exciting new redevelopment planning project.

Cassowary Coast Regional Council is working with James Cook University on future plans for the heart of Innisfail - and members of the public will also be invited to share their ideas.

Students and industry professionals from James Cook University's urban design group are staying in town this week for site inspections, a stakeholder meeting, design workshop and community consultation.

They will also be with council staff and councillors at the Innisfail Show on Friday to share information with community members and gather feedback.

Cassowary Coast Mayor John Kremastos said Council was pleased to be working with James Cook University on a project that presented opportunities for Innisfail and the region as a whole.

"Innisfail's CBD is stage one for us - we would love to see Tully CBD, the Mission Beach Village Green and other areas as subjects of similar partnership projects in future years,'' Mayor Kremastos said.

He stressed the end result would be a master plan - with redevelopment a longer-term goal.

"This plan will be used to seek funding for future projects,'' he said.  "The area we are looking at is from Anzac Park along Edith St to Fitzgerald Esplanade. The esplanade area is between Geraldton Bridge and McGowan Drive.

"This project fits Council's focus on growing the region, providing opportunities for our younger generation, diversifying and working better together."

James Cook University Associate Professor Lisa Law said one aim of the partnership project was to improve connectivity between the Bruce Highway and the riverfront.

"Innisfail is a very attractive destination and we aim to help the town capitalise on its existing strengths,'' Associate Professor Law said.

"A lot of motorists currently stay on the highway, bypassing Innisfail's business centre.  We want more visitors to enjoy the town's art deco architecture, the beautiful riverfront and local businesses, and to encourage visitors to stay a while by developing attractive, welcoming and functional spaces."

She said James Cook University had undertaken a similar exercise in Ingham.

"Innisfail's CBD is a complex planning task and an excellent teaching opportunity. There are heritage elements, a culturally diverse community, a tropical climate and the need to plan for cyclones and floods.

"When we talk about developing tropical urbanism in our architecture and planning it is hard to imagine a better place for our students to be working and learning.

"Communities this size can't necessarily afford complex planning processes so what we're developing is a way for the university and local professionals and council to work together. 

"The council gets an affordable planning process, the community can see its urban environment being enriched and our students gain a priceless real-life experience and, over time, have the chance to see their ideas being put into practice."

Pic captions:

JCU1:  JCU students Doug Norris and Cole Dowsett assess Innisfail's esplanade as part of the redevelopment planning project.

JCU2:  JCU students and industry professionals inspect Innisfail's esplanade with Cassowary Coast Regional Council planning staff, Mayor John Kremastos and Crs Jeff Baines and Ben Heath.

JCU3:  Planning for revitalisation: (L-R) JCU's Jack Growden, Cole Dowsett, Kasey Walters and Doug Norris, Cassowary Coast Mayor  John Kremastos, JCU's Silvia Tavares, Cr Jeff Baines and JCU's Gisela Jung, Roger Mainwood and Lisa Law.

'Better Together'