Bridging the gap
The pylons of the Walter Taylor Bridge hide apartments and even a ballroom. One real estate agent says it’s time to restore the space, writes Melanie Burgess
ALTHOUGH seen by many as j ust a handy l i nk b e t ween Indooroopilly and Chelmer, the Walter Taylor Bridge was intended for much more.
With apartments and even a ballroom hidden within i t s Chelmer pylon, one local agent is pushing for a revamp to see t he builder ’s original plans come to fruition.
Dixon Family Real Estate principal Patrick Dixon said the pylon and surrounding area could be used for f unctions, hotel accommodation, cafes, canoe hire and picnics.
“Indooroopilly and Chelmer deserve a bit of character and social infrastructure,” he said.
“We shouldn’t waste t his unique treasure. We should share it for the benefit of Brisbane.”
He said revitalisation would enhance property values, too.
“People want to walk down to a cafe and have a short black or a cappuccino or a glass of wine,” he said. “That’s why New Farm is so expensive and Bulimba has done so well.”
He said he would like to see Walter Taylor’s exact vision enacted and believed Mr Taylor would be sorry to see its potential wasted.
Mr Taylor’s grandson and author of The Remarkable Walter Taylor, Noel Davis, said Mr Dixon’s vision was “tremendous”.
“I have to say I’m a bit surprised (Mr Taylor) included a ballroom as he was a devout Methodist and Methodists don’t believe i n dancing on church property,” he said.
“(But) the space was there so it seems he had in mind that the pylons would not only have accommodation but could also be used for social functions.”
He said the ballroom hadn’t actually been used for that purpose in the past but it could be popular for weddings.
Mr Dixon first wrote to Bris- bane City Council with his vision for Walter Taylor Bridge in 2011 but has renewed his push in the wake of successful tours of its Indooroopilly pylon.
Council refurbished the old tollkeeper’s apartment in the Indooroopilly pylon last year and Councillor Julian Simmonds of Walter Taylor Ward said tours had been successful.
“We had 300 bookings in the first week,” Cr Simmonds said.
He said Council had spent $150,000 restoring the Indooroopilly pylon but the Chelmer pylon would take “significantly more” than that.
“It needs quite a bit of funding to bring it into a state where people can safely go through t he pylon and as part of t he community consultation there was concern around parking,” he said.
But Mr Dixon said the lack of parking could be solved by water taxis and the nearby train station and funding didn’t have to come from ratepayers.
“Private initiative can make things happen when government can’t,’’ he said.
Walter Taylor Bridge is Aust r ali a’s l ongest s uspension bridge and the only habitable bridge in the Southern Hemisphere. It was opened on Valentine’s Day in 1936.
Real estate agent Patrick Dixon at the bridge.