Ipswich City Council Administrator Greg Chemello.
Ipswich City Council Administrator Greg Chemello. Cordell Richardson

City boss sets deadline to fix 'pretty sad' CBD development

A DECISION on how Ipswich's dilapidated central business district will be developed is only weeks away.

Ipswich City Properties, the Ipswich City Council-controlled company responsible for developing the project, is in the firing line.

During his two whirlwind weeks in charge of the city, administrator Greg Chemello has spent time analysing the state of the CBD project.

Work has halted on the mall site while project tenders are reviewed.

Mr Chemello is understood to be about six weeks away from revealing whether Ipswich City Properties will remain involved in the CBD redevelopment.

"They're linked, but it is a separate issue to the CBD - that needs to happen," he said.

"Whether it's done through a company or whether it's done through a council, that's one decision."

The city boss acknowledged something needed to happen.

"We do need to get on and do it and get moving," he said.

"Walking through the mall, it's pretty sad."

 

Nicholas St in Ipswich is set to be transformed as part of the CBD upgrades.
Nicholas St in Ipswich is set to be transformed as part of the CBD upgrades. Contributed

Mr Chemello and his five advisors are understood to be considering winding-up the council's ICP entity.

"We need to deal with the company, Ipswich City Properties," he said.

"We're working away very quickly through that."

While the CBD remains stalled, Mr Chemello said it was a while before he could reveal what would happen with Ipswich City Properties.

"It's probably a couple of weeks out before I can really give you a clear view about that," he said.

"We're starting to form a view, not just myself, my five advisors as well are getting across the issue."

He hopes the CBD will be "substantially redeveloped" by the time his advisory role ends in a year-and-a-half.

"There's no way we can complete the development in 19 months, I know that," he said.

"If we can get some of the community facilities back and the plaza back and some retail life into there, that's what it can be - certainly the administration centre well and truly underway."

 

The Ipswich CBD development from the air.
The Ipswich CBD development from the air. Rob Williams

At a special council meeting last month Mr Chemello took less than two minutes to remove former councillors Paul Tully and Andrew Antoniolli from the board of the CBD project company.

The conduct of Ipswich City Properties and its directors was slammed by Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe last month.

A document tabled in the Queensland Parliament revealed directors of the company, including ex-councillors, had chartered private planes and spent thousands of dollars fighting the release of information - all while the CBD sat empty.

Three of the council's other controlled entities, Ipswich City Developments, Ipswich City Enterprises and Ipswich Motorsport Park, are close to being wound up.



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