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Featured News Revitalizing Innisfail's CBD

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Wed, 12 Jul 2017

Revitalizing Innisfail's CBD

Art deco building

Urban design students from JCU are partnering with the Cassowary Coast Regional Council to come up with fresh ideas for the heart of Innisfail.

With their lecturers and industry professionals, the students are staying in town this week for site inspections, a stakeholder meeting, a design workshop and community consultation.

They will also be with council staff and councillors at the Innisfail Show on Friday to share information with community members and gather feedback.

Associate Professor Lisa Law said one aim of the partnership project was to improve connectivity between the Bruce Highway and the riverfront.

"Innisfail is a very attractive destination and we aim to help the town capitalise on its existing strengths,'' she said.

"A lot of motorists currently stay on the highway, bypassing Innisfail's business centre.  We want more visitors to enjoy the town's art deco architecture, the beautiful riverfront and local businesses, and to encourage visitors to stay a while by developing attractive, welcoming and functional spaces."

Associate Professor Law said James Cook University had undertaken a similar exercise in Ingham.

"Innisfail's CBD is a complex planning task and an excellent teaching opportunity. There are heritage elements, a culturally diverse community, a tropical climate and the need to plan for cyclones and floods.

"When we talk about developing tropical urbanism in our architecture and planning it’s hard to imagine a better place for our students to be working and learning.

"Communities this size can't necessarily afford complex planning processes so what we're developing is a way for the university and local professionals and council to work together.

"The council gets an affordable planning process and the community can see its urban environment being enriched. Our students gain a priceless real-life experience and, over time, have the chance to see their ideas being put into practice."

Cassowary Coast Mayor John Kremastos said Council was pleased to be working with JCU on a project that presented opportunities for Innisfail and the region as a whole.

"Innisfail's CBD is stage one for us - we would love to see Tully CBD, the Mission Beach Village Green and other areas as subjects of similar partnership projects in future years,'' Mayor Kremastos said.

He stressed the end result would be a master plan, with redevelopment a longer-term goal.

"This plan will be used to seek funding for future projects,'' he said. "This project fits Council's focus on growing the region, providing opportunities for our younger generation, diversifying and working better together."

Media enquiries: linden.woodward@jcu.edu.au