Botanic Parklands opening will be well worth the wait
CHINCHILLA'S long awaited Botanic Parklands project is nearly ready to be unveiled to the public.
With a water park, climbing wall, an amphitheatre, a mega fauna discovery space, community gardening plots and dozens of native Australian species calling the parklands home, the 4.3 hectare space has something to offer the entire community.
The long-awaited project, first announced in 2016, has been the brain child of a community vision with origins as far back the 1970s.
Western Downs Regional Council said the $5.9 million dollar project is set to become a signature destination for community events and entertainment across the region, promising to add to the beauty, heritage and liveability of the Western Downs.
The first stage of the development was originally planned to be open to the public earlier this year but dry conditions pushed planting back and now the initial stage of the project is tipped to be finished mid-April, just in time for Easter school holidays.
Project manager, Peter Sherrington, said now that concreting - the most time consuming part - is finished the rest of the parklands is coming up roses.
"We have had hold ups with getting the materials in, the rock climbing wall is coming all the way from Melbourne, so there's naturally been set backs in that regard,” Mr Sherrington said.
Long time Chinchilla resident, Lindsay Marsden initially advocated for the idea in the 70s and still continues to play an active part in bringing the Parklands to life as a member of the Friends of the Botanic Parklands group.
For Mr Marsden, the lead up to the grand opening of the parklands has been well and truly worth the wait.
"I am terribly excited. I never thought I'd get to see the day this idea became a reality,” Mr Marsden said.
"The first stage of the parklands is beyond my wildest dreams, I never imagined Chinchilla would be home to such a diversified space,” he said.
Mr Marsden said he first came about an idea for a botanic garden after building and planting the garden beds around the Chinchilla Museum and first suggested the idea to the community in 1970.
"And now nearly 50 years on it's about to become a reality and it's al a credit to the council and all the people involved, it's been a tremendous effort on everyone's part,” Mr Marsden said.
Spokesperson for Parks, Open Spaces and Cemeteries Councillor Carolyn Tillman said the parklands were a culmination of three decades of planning and vision.
"I would like to make a special mention to both the Chinchilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry and Lindsay Marsden who pushed to make this 30 year vision into a reality,” Ms Tillman said.
"This drive and persistence has meant that Council can deliver a valued recreational space that will add to the beauty, heritage and liveability (to) the Western Downs.”
The innovative parklands boasts state-of-the-art water treatment and irrigation systems with water from Charley's Creek piped to the site to be used throughout the Parklands as well as native, drought-tolerant plants.
The parklands will also be a space to honour and protect Chinchilla's Aboriginal culture and history with a yarning circle and several preserved scar trees, once used to make bark canoes, shelters, shields and containers which have stood within the site for hundreds of years.
"The Chinchilla Botanic Parklands are a celebration of the unique identity of Chinchilla - both the old and the new,” Cr Tillman said.
"We know this site holds significance for so many people, and that's what we've included in the design of the park. Each space tells an important chapter in the history of Chinchilla, and we're excited for the community to go out and discover it.”
Now only one big question remains - will the parklands be ready for the town's ANZAC day ceremony next month?
The spire on top of the cenotaph was erected Tuesday afternoon after the memorial was shifted from Heeney Street to it's new resting place beside the Botanic Parklands and Chinchilla Museum boundary line.
With an 18 foot stage and a hundreds of square meters of grass to be established in the mean time, Mr Sherrington and the parklands team have their work cut our for them.
For a sneak peak of all the Botanic Parklands progress check out the photo gallery bellow: