The North Bank project represents an important opportunity for Brisbane to rediscover a long neglected stretch of its riverfront and to celebrate the place of European settlement of Brisbane Town.
The challenge and opportunity offered by North Bank has been exhaustively reviewed, designed and debated by Brisbane’s designers and design industry groups for over six years.
Love it or hate it the Riverside Expressway is a fact of life in Brisbane and any design needs to take the expressway – and the significant challenges it presents – into account or the site will continue to lay dormant.
The Enquiry by Design (EbD) process – an open process involving the best minds in design, construction, government and community – has done just that.
A development that is guided by the design options and guidelines report of the Enquiry by Design (EbD) process will deliver on the objectives of connection, activation, and public safety, but only if the development proceeds on the river side of the expressway.
Despite all the financial considerations of who pays for what, developing a significant public space won’t significantly improve public safety unless the area is activated and populated. The river based commercial and entertainment uses suggested in the EbD report will provide the opportunity for this to occur.
The North Bank riverfront and Queens Wharf Road were the birthplace of Brisbane Town and a hub of commercial activity, with hotels, timber mills and other commercial activities. It is appropriate that the reactivation of the site promotes commercial transaction and exchange of a modern day equivalent and place people would choose to go to. Congregating and promoting the river-based tourism of Brisbane at a single location adjacent to some of the cities earliest buildings, who’s functional relationship was to the river, is also an exciting and overdue development for an important and long neglected area.
Brisbane’s Southbank precinct and Goodwill Bridge are two much-loved Brisbane developments that in their conception and construction stages met with major opposition. Both have now been weaved into the very fibre of a grown-up and vibrant Brisbane.
To parody and misrepresent the EbD process undertaken by the government, and participated in by more than 70 professionals and community stakeholders, puts at risk the great opportunity that North Bank offers the people of Brisbane and Queensland.
The time has come to make a decision.