City Centre Alive: Shields Street Heart

Current project status

The Shields Street Heart project aims to further revitalise and refresh the Cairns CBD. Key components of the upgrade include landscaping, lighting, public art and parkland improvements within the Esplanade to Grafton Street section of the city's heart.

To keep up to date on the City Centre Alive Shields Street Heart project, please read the latest's City Centre Alive newsletter below:

If you would like to receive these updates via email, please contact the Project Team and your details will be added to the distribution list.

Past newsletters for the Shields Street Heart project can be reviewed on the Project Updates webpage.

Stage 2 of the Shields Street Heart project is underway

This stage will see the Lake Street to Abbott Street section transformed into urban parklands. Key project elements will include:

  • Creation of an urban park—asphalt roadway and on-street car parking will be removed to make way for beautification works to recreate a rainforest experience (more trees, shade, turfed mounds, existing tiled walls re-surfaced, porphyry paving).
  • Contemporary lighting will provide life, colour and atmosphere after dark—a range of white and coloured lighting will be introduced including feature lighting and moving projections onto trees and pavements.
  • Public art components will feature prominently in the new-look streetscape, creating a public space that showcases the diversity and creativity of local and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
  • Vehicle access restrictions will be in place after works - the refreshed public space will be a pedestrian-friendly zone. Review the traffic flow and loading diagram to see how the new shared space will operate.

Please download the Stage 2 Fact Sheet ( PDF, 2.38 MB ) to review works programming details and further information.

Footpath renewal works will be underway from the week of 16 May 2016, starting with the upgrade of Telstra underground pits. To enable water main upgrades to be undertaken, some trees will be removed. For further information regarding these removals, please refer to the Demolition Plan ( PDF, 1.87 MB ). Water main upgrade works will start from Sunday evening, 22 May 2016. Go to the Project Updates page for further information.

Shields Street Heart Stage 1 works

Council is nearing completion of the Grafton Street to Lake Street section of Shields Street.

Key project elements within the Grafton Street to Abbott Street sections of Shields Street include:

  • creation of an urban park - roadway and car parking removed to make way for beautification works, recreating a rainforest experience (more trees, shade, turfed mounds, existing tiled walls re-surfaced, porphyry paving).
  • contemporary lighting to provide life, colour and atmosphere after dark - a range of white and coloured lighting will be introduced including feature lighting and moving projections onto buildings, trees and pavements.
  • public art components that have an Indigenous art focus.
  • vehicle access restrictions in place - the refreshed public space is a pedestrian-friendly zone. Review the traffic flow and loading diagram ( PDF, 0.43 MB ) to see how the new shared space operates.

Abbott St to Esplanade section works

It is expected that works on Shields Street, from Abbott Street to the Esplanade, will commence in October 2017.

Key project elements within this section will include:

  • Intersection will be upgraded to complement above beautification works. This will include lighting, landscaping and car parking improvements.
  • Traffic signals removed to create 'shared zone' environment.
  • Left-turn from Shields Street to the Esplanade will be removed.

You can review concept designs in the "For Download" section below.

Project background

The Shields Street Heart project is a component of the City Centre Master Plan that aims to continue to improve and revitalise the Cairns CBD. It is the second revitalisation project, following completion of the City Centre Alive Lake Street connection project in 2014.

Shields Street is an extremely busy pedestrian spine which runs from the Cairns Esplanade to Cairns Central shopping centre. The Shields Street Heart project promotes a walkable and pedestrian friendly city centre with increased retail activation to help attract more visitors and draw residents back into the city centre. Key components of the upgrade being considered include lighting, landscaping, public art and parkland improvements within the Esplanade to Grafton Street section.

A key change involves removal of the roadway and car parking in the Abbott Street to Grafton Street sections to create additional open space which is an aesthetically pleasing, shaded, tropical environment. In both sections, there will be a shared zone that allows loading zone and private property access to continue. Council is working very closely with traditional owners to develop indigenous themes that will reflect the unique rainforest and waterways of the region.

Community consultation undertaken for the concept phase of the Shields Street Heart project can be viewed in Related Links. Overall, community survey results showed strong support for undertaking the project (78%).

Public art opportunities

The Shields Street Heart project includes a substantial Indigenous art component incorporated into the landscape design. This will create a space in the city centre with a sense of connection, pride and ownership for Cairns residents and visitors alike.

Additional information

Stay up to date with how the Shields Street Heart project is progressing by visiting the Project Updates webpage. Or contact the City Centre Alive project team on (07) 4044 3303 or via email at citycentrealive@cairns.qld.gov.au.

Previous City Centre Alive concept designs that were released for public comment can be viewed in Useful Links.

Expected project budget: $17.4 million

Last updated: 12 September 2016