Mayor promises CBD lagoon for Ipswich
THE BLUE lagoon is on its way to Ipswich.
Maybe you won't see Brooke Shields ducking and diving beneath the azure waters as in the famous film.
But swimming in the CBD is set to become a reality for Ipswich families and tourists after Ipswich Mayor Paul Pisasale unveiled a campaign promise to build a new lagoon on land owned by Ipswich City Properties on the corner of Bremer St and Ellenborough St.
Cr Pisasale said his lagoon pool was fully funded, with developer epc.Pacific and Ipswich City Properties taking on board the financing of the project.
"We have also sat down with the Federal Government and have a funding model going into regional development Australia (RDA) and we have sat down with Ipswich MP Jen Howard," he said.
"All three levels of government are now committed to do this along with our private partners."
He described the lagoon as "a major drawcard" to complement the $150 million development planned for the CBD which will open up the mall to the river, see the council moved to an office tower in the CBD and the revitalisation of the mall with restaurants, bars, cafes and retail stores.
Cr Pisasale said the Orion Lagoon was seeing 55,000 visitors each month, and expected the lagoon in the CBD to be visited by thousands each week.
He said he had wanted to come up with a major attraction that differentiated the CBD from others, embraced the river and put entertainment at the forefront.
"I sat down with Ipswich City Properties over the last two months and came up with the idea of a lagoon pool," he said.
There are two proposals on the table - a lagoon at river level or a raised pool on the level of restaurants, cafes and bars as part of the new $150 million CBD redevelopment.
The former has been costed at $8 million and the latter, the preferred option, $12 million to $15 million.
"We will sit down with our developer and funders to work out which is the best option," he said.
"Lifting it to the level of retail could make it more valuable in the long run...and potentially include cafes and restaurants with outdoor dining as well as a landmark lookout overlooking the Bremer River. This is going to be the drawcard to turn our CBD around and a destination for families."
ICP chairman Paul Tully said Cr Pisasale had raised with him the high success of Orion Lagoon at Springfield Central, and that got them both thinking about the CBD.
"That has been more successful than we imagined," Cr Tully said.
"It is important to remember that we are a city of centres and we stretch from Goodna and Springfield, all the way out to Grandchester.
"Having a real drawcard, a world class facility, in the heart of the CBD is important.
"I am confident that one of those two (lagoon) concepts will become a reality and epc.Pacific are very confident that this can be done through Ipswich City Properties.
"This development will be done at no cost to the ratepayer."
ICP director Jim Lindsay said he preferred the raised option for the lagoon.
"It is a question of funding and funding availability, but what we would like to do is raise it to the same level as the restaurant, food and beverage and retail precinct," he said.
"We just need to cost it up and we will work those designs up and enter into a community consultation phase as well."
Mr Lindsay said the project met the objectives of the funding available through the RDA.
"That is a Federal Government initiative for economic driver activities in the city and this will clearly generate jobs and clearly generate activity in a CBD regeneration program, so we are quite confident we will get a good hearing," he said.
"This is like the South Bank and Orion Lagoon concept, where people can come day and night and activate the whole centre."
ICP director Cr Andrew Antoniolli said the lagoon would bring people to the city's heart in much the same way as the new library slated for the CBD.
"This major attraction will be a drawcard like no other in the history of the Ipswich CBD."