Restoration of Colleges Crossing marks end of flood work
THE restoration of Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve is complete and no one is happier than local cafe owner Mike D'Arcy.
Mr D'Arcy owns Colleges by the River cafe that was devastated by the 2011 and 2013 floods.
So the official opening of the popular riverside parkland held plenty of significance for him.
Mr D'Arcy has had the cafe lease since 2007 but it was the night of January 9, 2011 that Mother Nature dealt its first blow.
"That night we had to pack the cafe up and on the 10th of January move the cafe out of the river," he said.
"The cafe is designed to be taken out and it was put on a low loader and taken away just before the flood waters came through.
"We were closed down for two years because the park was pretty much like a sand bank. It was battered.
"We opened again in January, 2013 and we were open a week when the 2013 flood came through and closed down the park again."
The cafe was shut for a further three months while remedial work was done.
Now it is back and thriving.
"We had been either closed or operating at a reduced capacity since 2011," Mr D'Arcy said.
"But we have had enormous support from the council and community to keep the park operating.
"We now have a fully operational park at Colleges Crossing.
"You only have to go down there on weekends now that it is officially open to see how many people use the park. It is a great public space on the Brisbane River."
The old Moreton Shire officially opened the park and cafe on October 17, 1993 and Mr D'Arcy said he would mark the 21st anniversary from Friday.
Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale said Saturday's official ceremony also marked the conclusion of all reconstruction works citywide following both flood events.
"Colleges Crossing is now fully open for the enjoyment of all residents and visitors to Ipswich and that's tremendous news," Cr Pisasale said.
"Improvements to the original design following the 2013 flood event mean Colleges Crossing is now incredibly well equipped to better cope with any future fast-flowing floodwaters and debris.
"The new look Colleges Crossing has all the original features the community loves in addition to specially designed flood-damage resistant infrastructure.
"Importantly, this work would not have been possible without the financial support of the Australian and Queensland governments."
Division 5 councillor Heather Morrow said Colleges Crossing was partly reopened in April 2013 which allowed access to the top half of the reserve and the boat ramp.
"Part of the flood resistant improvement to the lower areas includes a new nature-based play area for the kids," Cr Morrow said.
"The upper playground and major infrastructure are protected by poles designed to reduce the impact of flooding debris during time of crisis.
"These poles also capture the history of the local area along with art work supplied by Ipswich's traditional owners, the Jagera, Ugarapul and Yuggera peoples."
A total of $3.78 million has been awarded for the restoration of Colleges Crossing with funding provided by the Queensland Reconstruction Authority under Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements, a joint Federal and Queensland government initiative.