Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) innovative approach to open space planning has been awarded a major category honour at a prominent Queensland industry awards function and conference at Mackay.
The Toowoomba Region Open Space Strategy, One size does not fit all, recently won the Parks and Leisure Australia (PLA) (QLD) Leisure and/or Open Space Planning Award of Excellence.
TRC Parks and Recreation Services portfolio leader Cr Joe Ramia, pictured, said Council was in the running for a national award to be announced at the PLA national awards and conference at the Gold Coast in late October.
Cr Ramia said the award was assessed on criteria addressing innovation and originality, public engagement, industry excellence, sustainability (environmental, social and financial) and achievements recognising efficiency and satisfaction.
Cr Ramia said Council had redefined how it planned and allocated open space for a variety of uses across the entire region.
“Parks and recreation areas are highly valued and well used across the region and Council is addressing how to improve facilities that communities want and plan for future needs, especially in growth areas,” Cr Ramia said.
“With more than 7,700 hectares of open space, Council is committed to making the most of this extensive and diverse asset for existing and future generations.
“Council is aware that one size does not fit all areas across the region and planning for future open spaces is about considering the different needs of urban and township areas.
“An example is the planning and construction underway for the network of parks along Oakey Creek that will see a range of improvements for residents getting out walking, cycling, exercising as well as picnicking and enjoying community events.
“This includes an upgraded and wider pedestrian and bike bridge across the creek, new pathways, park furniture and play node. The Oakey Creek Linear Corridor Master Plan previously also won an award.
“Other examples include upgrades for parks and facilities at Pittsworth, Clifton and at the Highfields Sport and Recreation Park. Significant stakeholder input has helped guide the planning and future work at these and other locations.”
Cr Ramia said the award was a fitting commendation of the work Council officers had done in developing the strategy, in conjunction with strategic input from stakeholders.