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Ipswich celebrates boom times



IPSWICH has seen managed development and major growth in the region since the amalgamation of Moreton Shire and Ipswich City 20 years ago to the day.

Ipswich celebrates boom times

The amalgamation of the Moreton Shire and Ipswich City took place on March 11, 1995 when the state government of the day decided to amalgamate a number of local councils across Queensland.

There was no referendum or vote taken.

Cr Paul Tully said that as a result it was “a fait accompli that Ipswich and Moreton would amalgamate”.

“They said it would be more efficient and that the development opportunities would be better having one council represent the Ipswich region,” he said.

“There was a lot of opposition in the Moreton Shire, where people liked their own council which met at Yamanto.

“It was a rural based council, but it had a lot of urban development particularly in that Camira and Redbank Plains area.”

Moreton Shire had a population of 50,000 and Ipswich had 80,000 in 1995, and since that time there has been an increase of over 40% on the then combined population of 130,000.

“There are about 185,000 now, and it is set to go over 200,000 in the next couple of years,” Cr Tully said.

“That growth has been easily managed and includes places like Springfield and now the Ripley Valley, which were in the Moreton Shire previously.

“That has been very well managed by having the one council represent the entire area of road networks… and provide sewerage and water, which is no longer a council issue but it was then.

“To be able to increase the population of the city by almost 50% in 20 years is something most councils would never achieve.”

An impressive 99.9% of the city’s urban areas has been sewered, which occurred after amalgamation.

“One thing I think we can be proud of after the amalgamation is when we introduced the enviroplan levy, and with that levy we have been able to buy 5500 hectares of land for conservation in Ipswich,” Cr Tully said.

“That has been a remarkable achievement in 20 years and most of it is in, or on the edge of, environmental parks.

“That is set aside for future generations.”

There is a much larger rate base now, and growing, so the council has been able to have a master plan for the CBD which includes the Icon Tower and across the river to Riverlink.

“We have got a strong commitment to the CBD and that is something has been achieved post the amalgamation,” Cr Tully said.

“We have also seen the extension of the Centenary Hwy and the railway line to Springfield by the state government, with the co-operation of the council, and that has opened up the western corridor.

“The other thing we did four years after amalgamation was combine the Moreton Shire and Ipswich City town plan into one document across the new local government area.

“That was a real challenge, but it created one combined town plan which was a blueprint for the development of the entire area from Gailes to Grandchester.”

The first Mayor of the new Ipswich council was John Nugent. He was the former Moreton Mayor who defeated Ipswich Mayor David Underwood at the 1995 election.

Two years earlier the name of shire chairman to ‘Mayor’.

“John Nugent was the last chairman of the Moreton Shire, the first, last and only Mayor of the Moreton Shire and the first Mayor of the new Ipswich,” Cr Tully said, no doubt a winning answer on a trivia night.

Key dates that establish the history of Ipswich are as follows:

In 1860 the Municipality of Ipswich was established, and then in 1904 the name was changed to the City of Ipswich City Council.

Then in 1916 the Shire of Ipswich was formed, around the City of Ipswich.

But a year later the name was changed from the Shire of Ipswich to Shire of Moreton, due to the confusion between the City of Ipswich and Shire of Ipswich.

In 1949 Ipswich City extended form Bundamba Creek at Bundamba to Gailes.

By the time of amalgamation in 1995 Ipswich City was 121 sq km, while Moreton Shire was over 1000 sq km

While there have been two slight change in boundaries since 1995, the total area of Ipswich is now 1090 sq km.


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High-rise care for elderly in heart of Ipswich CBD



High-rise care for elderly in heart of Ipswich CBD

NEW ROLE: The Metro Hotel Ipswich International will undergo alterations in design and layout for aged-care facility. Rob Williams
IPSWICH is about to get another residential aged-care facility and this time it will be right in the middle of the Ipswich CBD. According to media articles the Metro International Hotel Ipswich is to be redeveloped into a residential aged-care high-rise facility by a company called Oracle Care.

The Queensland-based company is apparently a new operator in this market and is currently developing other facilities, three in Goodna, two others in Queensland and one in Western Australia, according to the Weekly Source.

The Queensland Times, Monday, May 7, in an article outlined the facility would “provide single ensuite rooms and double suites for couples”. The article commented further that the “existing building facade is to be retained but the hotel will undergo alterations to the existing layout and design”. Oracle will keep the ground-floor function rooms and dining areas for residents and the community alike.

Oracle Care was only incorporated in 2015 and the business is registered as an Australian Proprietary Company, limited by shares. This seems like a very large undertaking by such a young company and it makes me wonder just who is backing it.

Council of the Ageing Queensland, the sector’s peak body, has welcomed the proposed redevelopment as an efficient way to bring beds on-stream much earlier than building from scratch.

The question is, what is the cost to the short-term accommodation availability in this city. Ipswich does not have that much short-term accommodation as it is, especially when there are major events held in and around the city. So by reducing the accommodation rates by this redevelopment lessens that available space to cater for tourists and other visitors to our city.

The Metro International Hotel Ipswich is ideally located behind the Ipswich Civic Centre and caters to, or it did, patrons attending the many shows staged there. Many of the shows staged at the Civic Centre are very popular and much cheaper to attend than travelling to Brisbane. In fact many patrons to these shows come from other places and stay at the hotel behind the civic centre for the night.

According to Oracle, this redevelopment will create more than 200 jobs and if that is the case great. But realistically these types of developments start with this type of rhetoric which eventuates in much less than first anticipated. But what about the jobs that will be lost from the hospitality industry? What about the jobs lost by the cleaners and house attendants currently employed by the hotel? Is this development really only replacing jobs from one sector to another?

So, will hundreds of jobs be created or will they just be one industry replacing another. Will there be any benefit for Ipswich jobs? I really do not think so. I believe that discussion about jobs is just a smoke screen by another developer seeking to rip money out of this community as we have seen so many times before.

We, the community, need to stand up and let the elected and bureaucrats of council know that it is no longer accepted that they continue to rip the guts out of the CBD. And that is what this approval for this redevelopment is doing. It is not good enough to continue to blame another level of government. Our council needs to take responsibility for its own actions.

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$1.5 billion town centre officially open for business



$1.5 billion town centre officially open for business

THE first stage of Ripley Town Centre officially opened on the weekend as the $1.5 billion precinct is expected to be a catalyst for major regional growth during the next decade.

The milestone marks one of the first major regional infrastructure deliveries in the Ripley region since October 2010 when the State Government nominated it as a priority development area to accelerate development for the growth requirements in South East Queensland (SEQ).

The Ripley population is tipped to soar by almost 28% each year during the next eight years, which will underpin the growth requirements in SEQ. Latest data from Urbis shows the Ripley catchment will be the fastest growing suburb in Queensland until 2026.

This pace makes it one of Queensland’s fastest-growing areas, with the district set to reach a scale comparable with Springfield or North Lakes in the future.

The State Government has spent upwards of $1.5 billion on major infrastructure items in the western corridor since 2005, and a further $500 million has recently been announced to support the corridor’s growth objectives.

These include the $366 million extension of the Centenary Highway, the extension of the passenger rail line from Darra to Springfield plus the Centenary Highway duplication to Springfield valued at $1.27 billion, as well as a $124 million extension of the Ipswich Hospital.

The $40 million first installment of Ripley Town Centre, developed by Sekisui House and constructed by Hutchinson Builders, is anchored by a Coles store.

The first stage reflects a marketplace theme and spans 9400sqm, including 20 specialty businesses, commercial office space and 360 car parks to support the growing Ripley community.

Among the retailers are BWS, Madhouse Discount Ripley, APAR Hair Studio, Gold Class Nails, Orion Massage, Eco Shot Café, Mum’s Bakehouse, Ripley News, Ecco Ripley Sales & Information Centre, The Discount Chemist, Ripley Dental Surgery, Ripley Veterinary Hospital and opening soon Ripley Medical Centre and Chinese Lor Restaurant.

Sekisui House Australia CEO Toru Abe described the town centre opening as a “game-changer” for the western growth corridor, noting it was set to become a vital commercial and community hub for southeast Queensland.

Mr Abe said the site would ultimately turn into a 25ha precinct offering up to 1,000,000sqm of planned commercial, office and retail floor space as well as a dining precinct, regional transit hub, community and entertainment facilities, health and education, open spaces and new inner-urban residential nodes.

“Ripley Town Centre will epitomize the 20-minute neighbourhood – with everything located within 20 walking minutes,” he said.

The eco-friendly town centre recently received a 5 Star Green Star rating from the Green Building Council of Australia, after complying with strict criteria for sustainable design and construction across nine categories.

Mr Abe said the rating showed that Green Star transformation of the built environment wasn’t confined to Australia’s capital cities.

“Regional projects can lead on sustainability,” he said. “This project is packed with intelligent design features such as the rooftop solar that doubles as carpark shading and reduces greenhouse gas emissions up to 15 per cent.

“Sustainability excellence was a primary objective of the Ripley Town Centre project and this required innovative design and management to achieve high indoor environment quality, energy and water saving plus a selection of low-impact materials to minimise the impact on local ecology.”

The heart of the centre offers a showpiece open air space, Satoyama Way. Landscaped with trees, green walls, water features and a range of seating areas, the design was based on the Japanese concept of Satoyama – harmonious interaction between nature and man-made environments. The area will be extended as the town centre grows.

Ripley Town Centre will hold a Main Street Festival on May 26, from 11am to 4pm, to mark the official opening and to celebrate growth and harmony in the region.

Celebrations will include sidewalk dining, live music, entertainment, kids cooking, kite flying, rock climbing, community displays, roving performers and a silent disco.

Mr Abe said the festival was designed to showcase


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Store opening creates more than 50 new jobs



Store opening creates more than 50 new jobs

COLES has created 53 new jobs in the Ipswich region with the opening of its new supermarket at Ripley Town Centre, which will open its doors to local shoppers for the first time with a Dessert Festival this Saturday.

An additional 22 team members will transfer from nearby Coles supermarkets and a further 37 team members will join the team for the online launch in June, bringing the total number of team members to 112.

To celebrate the opening of the new store, the Ripley team will host a Dessert Festival from 7am to 1pm featuring interactive workshops for kids, delectable desserts, competitions, and a range of entertainment. Leading the workshops include former Broncos players Petero Civoniceva and Jharal Yow Yeh, and 2017 MasterChef contestant Sam Goodwin.

The new Ripley supermarket will feature an in-store bakery offering customers freshly baked goods, a gourmet delicatessen with a cheese wall and olive bar, a generous health food selection with a scoop-and-weigh station, and 300 shaded car parks.

The new range will feature hundreds of Queensland-made or grown products, including delicious bakery treats from Country Chef, fresh vegetables from Rugby Farms in Gatton and potatoes from Wickham Farms in Killarney.

Coles Click&Collect and Home Delivery will also be available from next month, allowing shoppers to order their groceries online and have them delivered to their car boot at the dedicated Click&Collect carpark or to the comfort of their own home.

Coles Ripley will also feature energy efficient measures such as solar-panelled car park shades – an initiative of the Ecco Ripley master-planned community as it works towards a Green Star accreditation.

Coles State General Manager Jerry Farrell said the new store was part of an investment of more than $45 million in the region in the past four years.

“We’re working to provide locals in Ripley with an enhanced shopping experience by offering the latest in fresh food technology, and by making grocery shopping more enjoyable and convenient,” he said.

“It’s also fantastic to be creating new job opportunities in this growing region with more than 230 local jobs provided over the past four years, and we’re pleased to welcome 65 new recruits to our Ripley store.”

Ripley Store Manager Adam Brookes said he was delighted with the support and enthusiasm from the local community, and is excited to give back.

“Ipswich is one of the fastest-growing regions in Queensland and the team is really looking forward to becoming part of the community and growing alongside it,” he said.

“Once the store opens, we will be pleased to donate singlets and boxing equipment to local South Ripley boxing club, Rhema Boxing, which will also be kicking off the first of many community BBQs on our opening day.”

On Saturdays and Sundays, other local organisations will have the opportunity to host their own barbeques at the store to raise funds for their school, sporting team or special cause.

Coles Ripley will officially open to shoppers at 7am on Saturday, 19 May.

Free goodie bags will be available to the first 100 customers through the doors.


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