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What should go in the new South Brisbane pocket park at the corner of Grey St and Melbourne St?

Did you know that as part of the Brisbane Metro project, we’re getting a new pocket park in South Brisbane?

A small, 1000m2 block of land at 125 Grey Street (corner of Melbourne St) is being used as a construction layover area for most of the project duration, but as the final stage of the Metro construction work (sometime in 2024) will be turned into a public park.

The problem? BCC is preparing a concept design for the layout of the park without first talking to local residents or me as the local councillor.

They’ve told me:

“The development of the park will need to take into consideration that the area is a small urban common, located within a highly trafficked, highly constrained environment adjacent to a precinct with important cultural and heritage significance. In line with these considerations, the development of a concept design will help facilitate enhanced and more meaningful engagement with a broad range of stakeholders and equip the project team with the ability to proactively respond to comments and suggestions as they arise. The project team will then be able to incorporate agreed amendments prior to commencing the detailed design phase.”

This is a backwards approach.

It means BCC will spend thousands of dollars ‘designing’ this park, THEN publish a concept design seeking feedback. If there are significant problems with the concept design, residents will then have to spend time and energy advocating for it to change, and if the project is too far along, the LNP-dominated council might just say “sorry, it’s too late, we need to get on with detailed design based on the existing concept design.”

A better approach would use a participatory planning methodology, where the project team asks residents what they want and runs workshops early on in the process so that interested people can throw around ideas and decide what sorts of facilities can realistically fit in the space.

1000m2 is not very big, but this is a significant location right next to the South Brisbane train station and the Cultural Centre bus station. As long as the major parties are running the show, it seems like this might be the only new park that the suburb of South Brisbane is likely to get any time soon, so we need to push for a design that best meets the community’s needs.

Although it’s small, we’ve all seen how Bunyapa Park at the corner of Vulture St and Thomas St in West End gets a lot of use and meets a wide range of needs, despite being just 900m2 in size.In contrast, there are many examples of council parks that don’t get much use, in part because the design doesn’t reflect the community’s current needs.

So if you have a moment, please email [email protected] to ask for South Brisbane residents and small businesses to be included in a participatory design process regarding the future of this park. We want locals to have a say, rather than just big entities like QPAC, South Bank Corporation and the Department of Transport being the only stakeholders that get meaningful design input.

What do you think should go in this new park?

Is it a good location for a skate park?

Or do we want some kind of stage and open-air performance space for gigs?

Should it be a stripped-back, green, leafy refuge to offset all the concrete, bitumen and steel in the surrounding landscape? Or a nature-based playground for all the children living in nearby apartments?

Obviously one small public park can’t meet all the needs of this growing community. But I think it would be better to aim for a park design that serves one or two specific functions (e.g. skate park with some trees) rather than a general, ‘neutral’ design that no-one will want to hang out in when South Bank Parklands is so close.

What do you think? Email [email protected] if you have strong views about the future of this park, and would like to be notified about potential community consultations. And make sure you're signed up for Gabba Ward email updates via this link.

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