Pisasale urges state to gift Bell Street site to the city
PLANS to reopen the Ipswich mall to the Bremer River have reignited calls to develop the disused Ipswich Transit Centre.
The Bell St site, owned by the Department of Transport and Main Roads, has been barricaded off to the public since it flooded in 2011.
It had been used by bus drivers as a temporary depot and the previous government planned to put the site on the market early last year.
The site's exterior is currently being used by non-profit community group, 1987 Productions, for theatre performances.
Mayor Paul Pisasale yesterday urged the state government to look at gifting the site to the city to be included in the CBD's redevelopment plans.
"This is a vital piece of infrastructure in regards to the CBD redevelopment," Cr Pisasale said. "The Transit Centre has been left idle and I don't even think the government is aware of it."
Cr Pisasale said the services at the Health Plaza could be relocated into the new development in the mall and the entire site redeveloped.
"The Transit Centre, the way it is, it is not worth anything to anybody, except to the city. The renovation costs are about $400,000. It's just an eyesore at the moment.
"Bell Street as a Transit Centre is hopeless. There is no parking and it has been an issue for everybody. For Bell St to have taxis, buses and the train station all in that small street. It is too cluttered. "We need the Transit Centre to become an integral part of our infrastructure.
"This is a missing link in the plans for the CBD."
Member for Ipswich Jennifer Howard said she had spoken to Ipswich City Council about Retail Stage One and potential for the Transit Centre and Health Plaza buildings.
Ms Howard said she had approached Deputy Premier Jackie Trad's office about the Transit Centre and hoped to have an onsite meeting before the end of the year to discuss options for the facility.
Inner city councillor Andrew Antoniolli said he believed Bell St was not the place for a combined transit facility and the CBD redevelopment was an opportunity to work transit options in together.
"When the (Ipswich Transit Centre) was built it was a white elephant then. It is still a white elephant now, it is just boarded up," Cr Antoniolli said.
"We are coming in to a new age for Ipswich and I think it is time that we developed the full transit options for our CBD collectively - trains, buses and taxis.
"At the moment what we've got is limited in a piecemeal sense and it is not having a positive effect on Bell St. We need to look at whether or not Bell St is the place for it.
"We need to have something similar to what other new age cities have - a full optioned transport facility including rail.
"There is an opportnity for us to work with the state to achieve better outcomes, particulary as we are starting to redevelop that mall area, and there are some great opportunities to link those transport and transit options in with that new development."