For a Better Brisbane

Howard Smith Wharves

Cliff stabilisation works at the Howard Smith Wharves have begun. The site is under the Story Bridge and continues along the Bowen Tce cliffs. The Brisbane Times online newspaper have published artist impressions about how a parkland area may look. This blog could not, however, locate official artist impressions of the proposed buildings.

Cliff face concreting and stabilisation works are in progress. Note the use of steel reinforcement.

As usual, there are opponents and proponents of the proposal to redevelop this site. The application number is A002165832 with documents about this development found at Brisbane City Council’s planning and development online website.

The site is about 35 200 square meters in area (3.52 ha) and has a number or air raid shelters which were built in 1941-1942 by the Brisbane City Council during wartime. Redevelopment and urban renewal for the area is proposed by the Brisbane City Council in three separate precincts:

  1. Hotel and tourism
  2. Restaurants, retail, gallery and the like
  3. Active outdoor recreation, community facilities

The main points of contention seem to be the boutique hotel, perceived future traffic impacts on Bowen Tce and whether the proposed uses would be broadly appealing to the general community as opposed to an exclusive upmarket clientele.  Often in development proposals, concerns may extend beyond what the site or proposal is (buildings, uses, dimensions, heights), into social and demographic aspects and what that might symbolise.

Current uses of the site include a storage depot and shipping containers behind chainwire fences. A 'pillbox' air raid bunker is visible on the left.

Commercial, non-government and private activity on publicly owned land and features in Brisbane is not new. Kangaroo point has the Riverlife Adventure Centre based at the Naval Stores near the base of the Kangaroo point cliffs which runs functions, weddings, aboriginal experiences and kayaking. South Bank Parklands has a number of restaurants which are nestled into the parkland fabric, and the Story Bridge is used by the Story Bridge Adventure Climb experience.

Most of the site is off-limits to the public due to safety risks and disrepair.

While most of this site is locked away behind chain wire and is strictly off-limits to the public, the potential for it to become an important place for the people of Brisbane to enjoy the river, bridge views and sightsee during Riverfire are there. Further consultation is required but also more artist impressions about the scale, size and how the proposed buildings (such as the hotel) on the site will look like is absolutely needed. Without this information, people will only have the grapevines to source their information from.

Entrance to the bikeway on the site. The building is boarded up, but might make for a nice pub!

External links

Virtual tour of the Howard Smith Wharves

The 2007 Howard Smith Wharves community consultation report


Written by .

May 30, 2010 at 3:45 pm

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