Shields Street Heart Stages 1 & 2

Council has created a new pedestrian oasis in the Cairns CBD, completing work on the Shields Street Heart project Stage 1 in July 2016 and Stage 2 in March 2017.

Shields Street Heart Stage 1: Grafton to Lake sts

Stage 1 works were undertaken along the Grafton Street to Lake Street section of Shields Street. Key elements of the $7.8 million Stage 1 works 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.

Shields Street Heart Stage 2: Lake to Abbott sts

In this stage, the Lake Street to Abbott Street section has been transformed into an urban parkland. Key project elements 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 at night —a range of white and coloured lighting will be introduced including feature lighting and moving projections onto trees and pavements, and uplighting in the garden beds to show off the tropical surrounds after dark.
  • public art components showcasing the diversity and creativity of local and regional Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander artists.
  • a total of 22 trees, 41 palms and 2922 smaller plants were planted along with 728 square metres of turf.
  • vehicle access restrictions in place - the refreshed public space is a pedestrian-friendly zone.

Project background

The Shields Street Heart project was a component of Council's 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%).

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Last updated: 18 August 2017