The fences have come down on the Cairns’ CBD’s newest pedestrian oasis, as Stage 2 of the Shields Street Heart revitalisation projects nears completion.
Just a few creative elements remain to be installed between Lake Street and Abbott Street, as civil works wrap up on the site.
“Like Stage 1, we expect this part of Shields Street to become a popular pedestrian thoroughfare, where people are drawn to explore our city centre,” Mayor Bob Manning said.
“We’re leading by example in bringing tropical urbanism design into our city centre; with tropical gardens, attractive paving, public art and grassed mounds we’re aiming to create a cool and inviting CBD experience.
“We live in such an amazing place and we want our city to reflect all the wonders of the rainforest.”
A total of 22 trees, 41 palms and 2922 smaller plants have been planted as part of Stage 2, along with 728 square metres of turf.
“We’ve completed the landscaping and a lot of the public art is already installed,” Cr Manning said. “Etchings and mosaic designs adorn the garden walls and even the bicycle racks turn everyday practicality into art.
“Uplighting has also been installed in the garden beds to show off the tropical surrounds after dark.
“But there are still a few key additions to come, including the major public art piece called Rainforest Shields. There will also be some large boulders coming in the next couple of months and we’re working on getting the creative video projections developed.”
The area also features a loading zone to serve nearby businesses and provides vehicle access to a private carpark.
“This means there will be times when pedestrians and authorised vehicles are sharing this space,” Cr Manning said.
“With that in mind, it’s important that pedestrians are aware of potential vehicle movements and that motorists are careful and considerate of pedestrians when entering the shared space.”
Cr Manning said Stage 3 works would commence after the completion of the City Centre Master Plan review.
“We intend to complete the Shields Street Heart project by extending the tropical elements toward the Esplanade,” he said. “But just what that will involve will be subject to the City Centre Master Plan review.
“We know we want to create something special for our residents and visitors to enjoy and of which our city can be proud.
“In the meantime, we would like to thank business owners and everyone who visits our city centre for their patience and cooperation throughout this revitalisation program, which aims to make our city an even better place to live, work and visit.”
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