A BOLD plan three years in the making has been unveiled by the Ipswich Show Society for a $40 million exhibition and flood evacuation centre to be built at the Ipswich Showgrounds.
The proposed facility, integrated with other showground infrastructure, would cater for 4000 people in an emergency situation, seat over 600 people in a main auditorium and be a beacon for expos and home shows.
The plan was unveiled to the QT by Ipswich Show Society vice-president Darren Zanow and Blair MP Shayne Neumann who have highlighted the economic, social and emergency management benefits of the project.
Funding will be sought from federal, state and council coffers with the Ipswich Show Society also making a major contribution.
The project involves transforming the current cattle pavilion into a four-storey exhibition and flood evacuation centre.
The bottom two levels will be for car parking with the exhibition centre’s main hall on the third level. The mezzanine level is set to contain offices and storage.
The Show Society also plans to have an additional two-storey car park within the grounds to cater all-up for 1000 car spaces.
Mr Zanow said the total spend, including upgrades of other showground buildings and facilities, would be around the $58 million mark.
The grandstand complex, the cricket pavilion and the exhibits pavilion are all part of upgrade plans and Mr Zanow said funds would be sought from a variety of sources, with his organisation also contributing.
“Since the 2011 flood we have been looking at providing a better facility to look after the people of Ipswich in times of emergency disaster,” Mr Zanow said.
“We have come up with the concept of an evacuation centre/exhibition centre facility and we’ll integrate that with the existing facilities on the showgrounds and renovate those facilities.
“That will allow us to have home shows, boat shows, expos of all descriptions and bring tourism and business to the region.
“The largest clear span facility in Ipswich now is at the showgrounds and it is not big enough or practical enough to bring the big players in the game.
“We do need an upgrade, and this is all part of a long-term plan to upgrade the facility so that it is to a really high standard.”
The Show Society is nearly at the end of the business plan stage of the project and has come up with detailed designs in league with consultants to make the plan as workable as possible.
“Then we will go into the next stage which will be to get it shovel ready and get the development approval from council…in particular for the underground car park and convention and flood evacuation centre,” Mr Zanow said.
The Show Society will also be seeking funding support for the $500,000 needed to get the project shovel ready.
Mr Zanow said fruitful discussions with Mayor Paul Pisasale and Cr Andrew Antoniolli had been held and both provided letters of support. He said Mr Neumann and both state and federal governments were “on board as well”.
Mr Neumann said a facility much larger than the Ipswich Civic Centre was required for conventions, performances and exhibitions and that the proposed facility at the showgrounds would bring jobs and millions of dollars into Ipswich.
Mr Neumann said there were an urgent need for the facility and that it would bring many benefits.
“Ipswich has had three major floods since 1974 and this will enhance the capacity for flood evacuation and recovery,” he said.
“It will expand the premier showgrounds in our region and this can act as a convention centre for us until we get an Ipswich Performing Arts Centre.
“This will be bigger than the capacity of the civic centre and be able to seat easily 600.
“It is affordable, achievable and will be accessible to the public of Ipswich because it will be in the heart of Ipswich.
“All up it will cost around about $40 million and the show society is going to put money towards it. I will support them in future federal government funding they will seek.
“I would also be looking for Ipswich City Council and the State Government to put money towards it.”
Cr Antoniolli, the divisional councillor, told the QT he was backing the project.
“When we did have the 2011 flood it showed the shortcomings of the showgrounds, although it was the best that we had,” Cr Antoniolli said.
“This project has the benefit of being able to function as an evacuation centre at a high level.
“The Show Society is obviously looking to the future to have an expo space and some of their infrastructure is getting dated.
“It ticks all the boxes from a community perspective.”
Originally Published: http://www.qt.com.au
BUDGET: Cash splashed to fix Ipswich’s congested highway
ONE of Ipswich’s worst intersections will be fixed with the Federal Government committing to fund an upgrade to the Cunningham Highway.
In his third budget, Treasurer Scott Morrison revealed $170 million would go towards improving the dreaded Amberley Interchange.
The project will include a realignment of the highway between Yamanto and Ebenezer Creek and an upgrade of the Ipswich-Rosewood Rd.
Expansions and growing military activity at RAAF Base Amberley has put pressure on the interchange.
The $170 million funding injection also comes as the Ipswich City Council considers a proposal from Lantrak to move 1 million tonnes of landfill each year to rehabilitate the New Hope coal mine at Jeebropilly.
According to the application more than 250 heavy vehicles would transit the highway each day.
The government says the Cunningham Highway upgrade will “improve travel reliability and reduce congestion”.
It is expected the Queensland Labor Government will match the funding to start the $340 million project.
Federal Labor MP Shayne Neumann confirmed his party would offer bipartisan support and also commit to fixing the highway in a “major boost for the economic capacity of the Ipswich region”.
“The road takes 2700 heavy vehicle movements a day, and plays a significant role in transporting people and freight between Brisbane and Sydney,” he said.
“These vital upgrades to the Cunningham Highway have long been identified on Infrastructure Australia’s Infrastructure Priority List.
“That’s why it’s disappointing the Turnbull LNP Government have had to be dragged kicking and screaming to fund this project.”
Become an entrepreneur
OLDER residents in Ipswich will be encouraged to become entrepreneurs so they can stay in the workforce longer.
The Federal Government will roll out 20 new entrepreneurship facilitators across the regions over the next four years.
Ipswich, along with central Queensland, Ballina and Tweed, will benefit from the program.
The small business experts will teach mature-age people how to start and maintain sustainable businesses.
The Federal Government has set aside $2.7 million in the 2018-19 financial year for the project.
A further $15 million will fund the program until June of 2022.
The government has also committed to continuing the Job Change project that assists mature-age workers to remain in the workforce as retirement and pension ages creep upwards.
Amberley cashes in on Defence spending
RAAF Base Amberley will take a share in millions of dollars in upgrades in the Defence portfolio.
A new Air Traffic Control Radar will be installed at Amberley as part of an estimated $96 million investment in new technology across several bases.
Working accommodation, maintenance, warehousing and training facilities will be built to support the introduction of the Growler Airborne Electronic Attack Capability aircraft.
The project is scheduled for completion by early 2021.
A C-17 maintenance facility, aircraft apron and associated infrastructure will also be constructed.
It is scheduled for completion by early 2019.
Australia’s largest solar farm planned near Ipswich
Somerset already hosts a number of energy projects including hydroelectric plants at Wivenhoe Dam and Splityard Creek Dam.Contributed
AUSTRALIA’S largest solar farm has been proposed for a rural site near Ipswich.
The proposed plant, east of Harlin along the D’Aguilar Highway, would have final capacity of 1,500 megawatts, six times larger than its closest rival.
Plans include two substations and the capacity to hire to 60 people.
The Sunraysia solar farm in NSW is Australia’s largest under construction, at 250 megawatts.
Other Australian solar farms of up to 1,000 megawatts have been proposed.
Somerset Mayor Graeme Lehmann said it was a complex development application from Ethos Urban planning consultants.
The company has been involved in other large infrastructure projects throughout Australia, on behalf of Sunshine Energy Australia Pty Ltd.
“We understand the attractions of the site include its proximity to the existing high voltage power network and proximity to Brisbane,” Cr Lehmann said.
“The site has been largely cleared in the past and is within one hour of the 570 MW pumped storage hydroelectric plant at Splityard Creek which is also in the Somerset Regional Council area.
“The development application includes two substations, facilities for up to 60 employees and provision for battery storage.”
“The application has been referred to various government departments and agencies for their input and we will carefully assess it against our planning scheme like any other proposal.”
Somerset Regional Council is reviewing the application.
Education City link approved by Ipswich Council
A FOOTPATH that will link Springfield’s Education City to the Robelle Domain Parklands in Springfield Central has been approved by Ipswich City Council.
Plans were lodged by Springfield Land Corporation on February 2 this year and first approved on February 26.
However Ipswich City Council did not approve the use of Hoop Pines to landscape the pathway.
After some negotiating a new decision notice was issued on April 9 with the condition stipulating that Hoop Pines were not to be used deleted.
The land where the pathway is being constructed is lot 810 Sinnathamby Boulevard, Springfield Central.
Described as an open space boulevard pathway, the public concrete path and associated landscaping work has been approved in full subject to conditions.
Footpath lighting is to be installed, and a spotter catcher is to be engaged to supervise vegetation removal and ensure any native fauna including native bees are identified and relocated.
The spotter catcher is to submit a report before and after vegetation clearing works are undertaken detailing what wildlife has been identified and preventative and remedial actions taken to ensure animal safety.