Locals shape fresh positioning plan for city’s prosperity

Date published: 27 June 2017

Opening up The Strand and Townsville’s inner-city to exciting new sporting, entertainment and cultural attractions for the local community is the first key step in positioning the city as a national destination.

The city’s new positioning plan, the Transformation of Townsville, developed by Pure Projects and endorsed today by the city council, provides a detailed strategy to develop lifestyle, jobs and long-term economic development.

Transformation of Townsville follows months of work to refresh master planning for the city with input from hundreds of leaders, investors, youth and indigenous representatives.

Ideas and recommendations in the report include a seawater swimming lagoon on The Strand, and preferred options to bring the inner-city alive with sporting, entertainment and cultural precincts linked by gardens, cafes and shaded walkways.

Mayor Cr Jenny Hill said the report laid out a clear strategy for Townsville’s development as the economic and lifestyle hub for northern Australia.

“What comes through loud and clear is the need to create great new recreation and business opportunities for our local community,” Cr Hill said.

“Townsville has the youngest population of any regional city in the State with 41% between 15-34 years. While we have to plan and develop lifestyle and employment opportunities for everyone, it’s important to keep our young community excited and engaged and wanting to stay here.

“The Transformation strategy has looked at our advantages and weaknesses as well as  barriers to success and provided the council and the community with a positive plan of action.

“Transformation of Townsville is now available on the council’s website for people to see.

“As we progress with the strategy there will be a lot more community consultation as the different elements are developed.”

Pure Projects, headed by co-founder David Williams and including Australian tourism identity Don Morris AO, was engaged by the council to develop the master plan to refocus and revitalise the city.

Mr Morris said Townsville was ideally placed to build a reputation as a leading lifestyle city in the north.

“The Transformation report provides a strategic approach and clear aspirations that maximise Townsville strengths and tackle some of the negatives that are holding he city back,” Mr Morris said.

“It must be all to do with local people, who are the backbone of the community, the lifestyle and the economy.

“Providing a quality experience for the local community with great facilities and new opportunities is what it’s all about. Tourism is the icing on the cake.”

The full report is available for the community to view on the council’s website.

Research and key recommendations

Research during development of the report identified key community attitudes towards Townsville’s strengths and weaknesses including:


  • Strong community passion and sense of belonging
  • Vibrant arts/cultural community
  • Strong sporting community
  • The Strand is a very well-liked precinct
  • Strong reputation as an education community.
  • Jonathan Thurston the most inspirational community leader to young people
  • New Flinders St bars/cafes are well liked by younger people
  • Gregory Street shops are microcosm of what CBD retail could be
  • Townsvillians are the most Queenslander of all Queenslanders


  • CBD has serious image problem disconnect between CBD-suburbs
  • Townsville little reputation as tourism destination
  • Rock Pool; is dirty and isolated from shops and cafes
  • Airport presents poorly, uncompetitive with Qld’s major tourism airports
  • Starved of events
  • Flinders Street criticised as being badly lit, unsafe at night
  • Low visitation to Magnetic Island by locals.
  • Young people bored and disenchanted
  • Poor food, beverage culture

Recommendations include activation across the city with:

  • Strand  - Saltwater lagoon
  • Review of PDA in inner-city to take in additional options including Castle Hill, Radical Bay on Magnetic Island and Rowes Bay Golf Course
  • Upgrade and greening of Palmer Street and Victoria Bridge
  • Central Park – to become premier green space in CBD with gardens and cafes, paths, ferry access and fishing platforms.
  • Bridge and tunnel linkages to the new  sports stadium
  • Entertainment and Exhibition Precinct on Stadium site
  • Centre for Excellence and Rehabilitation including training field for Cowboys;
  • Hotel development on stadium site
  • Indigenous Arts and Cultural precinct
  • Entry statements at city approaches, airport and in main suburbs
  • new Concert Hall in CBD
  • Upgrade and modernisation of Perc Tucker Galley
  • Ferry terminal options, ferry stops upstream to new stadium and other locations
  • Pedestrian linkages – shaded and green walkways

The report sets out the next steps for action:

  • Document new master plan with architectural overlays
  • Develop overlay of funding models and scenarios based on council endorsed projects
  • Understand the Council funding available for delivery of projects
  • Develop projects briefs, concept designs and budgets for all proposed activation projects
  • Seek Federal, State Government funding for Indigenous Arts and Cultural Centre
  • Commence negotiations for the Stadium site hotel development
  • Negotiate with Cowboys on the Centre of Excellence & Rehabilitation
  • Begin design and discussions with Crystal Lagoons to enable concept design of Strand Lagoon.

Visit Transforming Townsville webpage for more information