Parking worry on CBD arts hall
SOME of Townsville’s key performing arts bodies have questioned concept plans for a concert hall in the CBD, warning that access and parking issues need to be resolved.
The groups are also frustrated their own plan for a performing arts complex at the Townsville Civic Theatre ( pictured) has been ruled out because it is too far from the CBD and Palmer St restaurants.
Board member of the Townsville Community Music Centre and Townsville Eisteddfod Jeffrey Neilsen said their needs appeared to be considered secondary to hopes of driving CBD development.
Townsville City Council commissioned project and construction management consultant Pure Projects to provide a masterplan for reactivating the CBD.
The consultant has recommended a concert hall be developed on a site surrounding the disused Queens Hotel on The Strand or in Central Park overlooking Ross Creek.
“Based on our community feedback, there are general concerns on the ( Civic Theatre) location and ( its) remoteness from key dining precincts such as Palmer and Flinders streets,” the report says. “Therefore, from a CBD activation aspect, we do not see this location as the best option for the new concert hall.”
The music centre, Townsville Eisteddfod, Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition and Barrier Reef Orchestra have pushed plans for performing arts facilities based on an expansion of the Civic Theatre.
Mr Nielsen said development of a concert hall was sorely needed but planners seemed not to have recognised access and parking issues.
He said the Townsville Eisteddfod was the city’s largest performing arts event involving thousands of children.
He said access to the Queens Hotel site was constrained and Central Park was too small to provide access and parking. If the adjoining Dean St car park was used, pedestrian access over a four- lane divided roadway was needed.
“How would we get 1000 schoolchildren from Dean Park to Central Park safely and efficiently several times a day?” Mr Nielsen said.
Australian Concerto and Vocal Competition president Chris Dall’Osto was not opposed to a new iconic building in the CBD but also questioned inner- city locations.
Barrier Reef Orchestra chair Judy Hunter said there was a desperate need for more performing arts space.
“We have been waiting for this second theatre since 1978. I have sat on so many committees that have talked about this over the years. I can’t see anything happening in my lifetime,” she said.