I have an annual budget of approximately $400 000 for upgrades to local parks and public spaces. This year, I'm allocating 3/4 of that budget towards improving the park at the corner of Carl Street and Tottenham Street in Woolloongabba. I’ve also asked the Lord Mayor to contribute more funding from the council’s main parks budget.
My office is organising a community design process to allocate the $300 000+ budget, where residents collaborate to decide what facilities should be installed in the park and how we can make the best use of this space.
Park history and future expansion
Since 2012, this park has grown gradually as council bought neighbouring properties to expand it.
With my support, council recently acquired the properties at 32 and 34 Tottenham St. I’ve asked the Lord Mayor to demolish or relocate these buildings to create more green space (we investigated turning one of these houses into a community facility, but council officers decided the high cost of renovating the old building wasn’t worth it). As part of this expansion, I’ve also asked the Lord Mayor to allocate an additional $600 000 towards upgrading this park (for a total budget of $900 000). I haven’t yet received a clear response. The council also wants to acquire 30 Tottenham St, but this might not happen for a long time.
I’m hoping that if I kick off a community design process and start the conversation about park upgrades, this will prompt the council to stop delaying and get on with expanding the park.
Two Concept Designs
Because the council hasn’t yet said if and when it will proceed with the park expansion, we propose to develop two alternative concept designs for the park.
‘Design A’ will be based on the expanded park footprint, on the assumption that council agrees to demolish the buildings at 32 and 34 Tottenham St in the near future, with a budget of approximately $900 000.
‘Design B’ will be restricted to the existing park footprint, based on a budget of $300 000, mindful of the possibility that council will hopefully expand the size of the park in a few years’ time.
I think it’s important that local residents get a meaningful say in how their parks and public spaces are designed and used. I don’t just want residents to tell me what you want. I want to encourage you to talk to one another, share ideas, and collaborate on solutions.
Our community design process will revolve around face-to-face workshops, with extra opportunities for people to contribute online or by contacting my office if they can’t make it to the meetings.
Our first face-to-face workshop will be held in the park on Saturday, 2 June from 3pm to 5pm (please RSVP via the form at the bottom of the page). At this event, we will talk about the needs of the local area, how residents currently use the park, and what other purposes you hope it will serve in future. Everyone will be given an opportunity to share their views and ideas. We will start thinking about how many features we can realistically squeeze into the park, and how far the budget is likely to stretch.
After the workshop, I will ask council officers to provide detailed costings for the various features that residents have suggested. We will then organise further meetings and online discussions to work through options and gradually agree on a final design for the council to implement.
If you'd like to volunteer to help organise, promote or facilitate the workshop, please get in touch via email@example.com.
Possibilities for the park
Rather than dictating what features I think are important for the park, I will be guided by residents. A few locals have already made different suggestions and requests including a playground, public toilets and a community garden. If you can’t make it to the meeting on 2 June, you can still email me at firstname.lastname@example.org or call my office on 3403 2165 to let me know what improvements you think are important, and I’ll pass those comments on to all the residents who are actively involved in the community design process.
The park is zoned as an urban common. This means council intends for it to serve as a neighbourhood hub with a higher intensity of use, such as for community events and maybe even small festivals.
A nearby example of an ‘urban common’ is Bunyapa Park on the corner of Vulture St and Thomas St in West End, which we designed with a stage and access to power points in order to accommodate outdoor concerts. I expect that as the Carl St park is much larger, it will have more open green space than Bunyapa, but it would still be good to include features that support community events and projects.
An example of an urban common-style park in West End
The design of this park will take place at roughly the same time as a major upgrade to Hanlon Park, just to the east of the Pacific Motorway in Greenslopes. The Hanlon Park upgrade is a much larger undertaking coordinated by BCC’s City Projects Team, and will involve major engineering work including converting the concrete drain back into a natural creek.
It will be important that the facilities and features of these two parks complement each other. I expect the design of Hanlon Park will include a fair bit of vegetation, with a stronger focus on creating native wildlife habitat. So it might be appropriate for the park on Carl St in Woolloongabba to focus more on active recreation.
A Name for the Park?
We also need to decide on a name for this relatively new park. These days, council generally avoids naming parks after individual people, and instead prefers to choose names that reflect a neighbourhood’s local identity or history.
My intention is to collect suggestions for park names, develop a shortlist and put the decision to a public vote. I am writing directly to local Aboriginal elders asking for their suggestions regarding a park name, but I also welcome suggestions from local residents. You can email me your park name suggestion, plus a brief explanation of the choice, at email@example.com.