GALLERY: 17 new things happening in Ipswich in 2017
THERE is plenty for Ipswich to look forward to next year with extensive development, housing and business construction imminent.
Meet some new faces to town, discover what's set to open and sample what the region will have to offer:
1. Ripley Town Centre to go tender
Ripley Town Centre is already 80% sold or close to being sold to Coles, a medical centre, pharmacy, dentist, vet, barber and food outlets.
The construction contract for the development is out at tender and Sekisui House anticipate to start early next year.
"This will become Ripley Valley's primary hub to service the projected 120,000 population for the region and surrounding communities and developments will feed into this vital piece of infrastructure," Ecco Ripley sales manager Scott Blaney said.
Stage one of the project is expected to deliver more than 100 jobs during construction and ongoing employment opportunities to more than 100 locals.
2. New Ipswich District Court Judge
After nine years in the role, Ipswich District Court Judge Greg Koppenol will move to Brisbane Court.
He will be replaced by Judge Dennis Lynch QC.
In court on Tuesday, Judge Koppenol was recognised for his "brisk and vigorous approach" to the role.
3. Puma Service Station to serve first customers
The Puma Service Centre in West Ipswich was tipped to open before the end of the year when construction started.
Puma has confirmed drivers will be waiting until January before they can fill up at the new bowsers.
A Puma spokesperson blamed local roadworks for the delay.
The centre the centre includes a Hungry Jacks and Zarraffa's Coffee shop.
4-5. Two new schools to welcome students
Bellbird Park State Secondary College and a Redbank Plains primary school will open their doors in time for term one next year.
Fernbrooke State School, a co-education prep to year six facility, will commence on the first school day in 2017.
Bellbird Park State Secondary College will continue to grow a year level at a time until 2022 when the first year 12 students will graduate.
6. Catholic Healthcare service construction finalised
A $15 million aged care development will provide accommodation to 100 residents with construction is set to finished in late 2017.
"This new development will offer a state-of-the-art residential aged care service, a health and wellness centre, onsite respite and community support services for seniors, together with specially designed spaces for people living with dementia," Catholic Healthcare general manager residential care Anne Maree Hodgson said.
7. Harvey Norman to move to old Booval hardware site
Hardware giant Bunnings' departure from its massive Booval site in late 2015 will make way for a different variety of retail big-hitter.
Harvey Norman is set to vacate its Ipswich Mall space and relocate to the 8600sq m Hamilton St complex, which is neighboured by a pharmacy warehouse, discount stores and a McDonald's restaurant.
Savills Retail Sales director Jon Tyson, who helped negotiate the $10.8 million deal, said expressions of interest began early this year, attracting a wide variety of potential buyers.
"There were multiple bidders - six or seven of them - ranging from owner/occupiers to developers who had completely different visions for the site," Mr Tyson said.
8. Fresh restaurants at Redbank Plaza
Red Koi Teppanyaki and Sushi Train will open at Redbank Plaza in 2017 offering a variety of Japanese cuisines in a sit down restaurant setting.
9. More car parking for cheeseburgers
McDonald's Limestone St restaurant will have 12 new parking spaces added to the site after the building known as the Old Fireman's Hall was knocked down last month.
It comes after McDonald's added an extra lane to the drive through to meet increasing demand.
10. Dixie Chicks to visit city
While CMC Rocks festival has been coming to Ipswich for a number of years, headline act The Dixie Chicks will be visiting our city for the first time next year.
The festival will be held on 24-26 March at Willowbank.
11. Defence Housing set for a new home at Deebing Heights
Planning approval is expected in January 2017 for the Defence Housing Australian development at Deebing Heights.
The construction of homes for Defence members is to be completed in two stages.
The first stage will see the completion of 56 homes in September 2018, and the second stage will see another 69 homes completed in September 2019.
Land lots will be marketed for public purchase across both stages, starting from mid 2017. More than 120 lots will be retained by DHA, on which homes will be built for Defence members and their families. The remaining 195 lots will be available for public purchase.
12. Comedian's first time making Ipswich laugh
Strassman will visit Ipswich Civic Centre with a brand new show, an evening of side-splitting comedy and riotous antics from Ted E. Bare and the malicious Chuck Wood.
Heralded as the artist who 'made ventriloquism hip again', Strasso's characters are a renegade band of puppets you wouldn't want to meet on a dark night.
13. CBD development to get underway
A one lane road down Nicholas St will be the first part of the new $150 million CBD redevelopment to be built in the second half of 2017.
"That (one-way) road will go in first all the way to Union Place along with the redevelopment of the linkage between Nicholas St and Bell St," Ipswich City Council CEO Jim Lindsay said.
14. First stage of Waterlea Walloon to welcome families
A masterplanned $350 million residential community is set to provide a home for 4500 people, equal to the entire population of Oakey.
The first stage of Waterlea Walloon, consisting of 300 homes, will be complete by the end of next year, with the next 1200 lots to be rolled out over the next five years.
"In stage one a local recreation park will be constructed around existing eucalypt trees," Planning and Development Committee chairman Cr Paul Tully said.
"Rohl Rd currently marks the western edge of Walloon township and the proposed development is the next logical extension of residential subdivision in this area of Ipswich."
15. Redbank Plains Town Square continues face lift
Construction on a mammoth shopping centre that is set to boost job opportunities and consumer choice in the Redbank Plains area will continue to roll out throughout the year.
The $140 million town square will be built next to the existing Redbank Plains Retail Centre on Redbank Plains Road, and will bring with it a new Coles supermarket, Aldi, Target and 60 other specialty stores.
16. $22 million Springfield sport fields to host first games
The decade-long wait for more sporting facilities in Springfield is almost over with parts of construction on the $22 million Southern Sporting Fields project set to wind up mid 2017.
The precinct, led by Lendlease, includes four new rectangular fields, or two ovals, 16 netball courts and clubhouses.
"There certainly has been a shortage in the Greater Springfield area," Cr David Morrison said.
"Council really only has Bob Gibbs and Summit Oval and a partnership with Education Queensland for Woodcrest College.
"There are sport clubs crying out for more space and these two ovals will be welcomed."
17. Ipswich Motorway upgrade gets moving
The first stage of the Ipswich Motorway upgrade between Rocklea and Darra will move one step closer to easing congestion.
"The contract to design and construct Stage 1 of the Ipswich Motorway Upgrade: Rocklea to Darra project will be awarded in early 2017," Main Roads, Road Safety and Ports Minister Mark Bailey said.