Restoring our Parks and Gardens to Glorious Green Spaces
While tourists come to the region for the rainforest and the reef, many stay longer to explore our region.
But what are we offering them in the way of public spaces?
Sadly, for me, one of the more disappointing aspects of our shire is the condition of our parks and gardens. At present, so many of our parks, gardens and open green spaces are in states of disrepair or drastically underused, sometimes being nothing more than paddocks of weeds and prickly grass. Occasionally, they contain playground equipment but for the most, many of these open public spaces present anything that would inspire tourists or locals to spend time in them.
Areas like Rex Smeal Park, with its lack of defined walkways, can be dark and dangerous, and there are few cultivated gardens in the shire that are truly representative of us being the international tourist location we position ourselves as being. Even many of our streets are bland, almost desert-like, lacking colour or dimension.
We need a more comprehensive strategy for park and garden management that will formulate what best represents each open space’s location while also helping fulfil the recreational needs of residents and tourists. A plan that will create usable spaces providing entertainment and memorable experiences. Elements of such a plan might include: off-leash dog areas; established picnic grounds with appropriate facilities; more play equipment; additional sports facilities such as basketball hoops and pump tracks; established gardens and pathways with bench seats; and better foliage and tree maintenance.
We live in one of the most beautiful natural areas of Queensland, if not Australia, so we should ensure our valuable natural assets are managed and treated as such while being utilised in ways that maximise their benefit to both the local community and visitors to our shire.