FIRST SOD: Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe with Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh at the official start of construction of the Chinchilla Botanical Gardens.
FIRST SOD: Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchcliffe with Western Downs Mayor Paul McVeigh at the official start of construction of the Chinchilla Botanical Gardens. Madison Watt

Botanical Parklands project under way

WORK is officially under way for the $5.9 million Chinchilla Botanical Parklands, the largest parklands project in the region.

The project is being co-funded by the Western Downs Regional Council and the State Government, which has contributed $2.85 million as part of their Building Our Regions Fund.

Western Downs Regional Council Mayor Paul McVeigh said the parklands, which has been 40 years in the making, would serve as an infrastructure and tourist attraction for the region.

"Delivering this wonderful community garden project with the State Government is the fruition of a concept that was first canvassed back in the 1970s and we're pleased it's been such a successful partnership,” he said.

"The scale and diversity of what will be on offer in the 4.2 hectare Chinchilla Parklands is a first for our region and we're excited to start construction on this wonderful recreational space for our community.”

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the State Government's contribution to the project placed value on the vitality and heritage of regional communities.

"The Chinchilla Botanic Parklands is a landmark project for the Western Downs and this is a really good example of State and Local Governments working together to deliver a project that will benefit not only local residents but the whole district, as well as tourists," he said.

"The Western Downs is a region with noticeable growth across several sectors as well as population diversity and a project of this nature greatly contributes to the region.”

Chinchilla Chamber of Commerce and Industry president Amanda Maurice said the parklands would benefit both residents and visitors to the region and add to the liveability of Chinchilla and the Western Downs.

"It will not only be a great space for locals young and old, but it will also provide a reason for passers-by to stop in Chinchilla and explore what else the town has to offer.”

"There will be many different ways for people to utilise and enjoy the space, it's a very exciting development for Chinchilla.

The 4.2 hectare parklands design includes a watermelon themed water play area, a 1,500 guest capacity amphitheatre, and a botanic garden to showcase the region's diverse flora.

Council's Parks and Open Spaces coordinator Matthew Robertson said visitors can expect to see many native species from the region, including those used by traditional owners.

"Chinchilla and the surrounds are home to over 60 different species of acacias, so we'll be planting a lot of those and a lot of other species local to the area as well,” he said.

"We've got a very strong focus on the aboriginal community here and we're engaging with them.

"Part of the design is to include an aboriginal themed walk to showcase plants used for medicinal purposes, bush tucker, all of that.”

The estimated time of completion for the project is early 2019.


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