As published by Tara Miko of The Toowoomba Chronicle on the 2nd of January, 2018.
‘TOOWOOMBA has closed a year of massive progress and development in 2017, and now opportunities loom for the city to receive what it needs to keep moving forward. Here, The Chronicle has identified several areas which need to see movement and progress in 2018. The list gives a snapshot of what should be on our civic and business leaders’ radars in the coming year.
Bypass name, toll
CONSTRUCTION of the $1.6 billion Toowoomba Second Range Crossing is slated to be completed late this year. But there’s still no word on what the highly anticipated bypass will be called, or how much it will cost to travel on.
We want to know the name and toll price.
Rehab and detox
THE grip of ice on our regional communities is still strong despite best efforts of existing authorities using what tools and facilities are already available. Those facilities need to be boosted, and addicts wanting to rid themselves of methamphetamines’ grip, need a dedicated detox centre in Toowoomba. There was some mention of this during the recent state election, but we want an ironclad commitment a centre will be wholly funded.
BOTH sides of the state political aisle committed to a $250,000 Quarry Gardens feasibility study to investigate how the ambitious project could work. We want that study to incorporate plans for a possible water park that could meet the demands of those Toowoomba residents who back the idea.
THE city’s reputation as a dining and foodie haven continues to grow, and will be further propelled with the addition of Motto Motto in the CBD. Motto Motto bills itself as a unique fast, casual Japanese experience with a contemporary design. It will be another progression of the maturing dining scene that Toowoomba has grown in the past two years.
DEMOLITION finally happened just before Christmas on the former Gladstone Hotel site on Ruthven Street. Now all eyes – including ours – will be on the redevelopment with the hope it’s quick and sees another exciting venue happen in the CBD.
The same goes for the Barry Bernoth’s South Central development next to the Bernoth Centre.
AS THE city’s population grows so too does demand for a new Toowoomba Hospital. While funds have been committed to investigate how to progress and shore up the vital service in the future, we want some headway on what form it will take. That includes whether a new facility will be built on the grounds at Baillie Henderson Hospital.
BIG name bands and musicians are no strangers to Toowoomba, but their live gigs are generally only hosted in licensed venues which, for the most part, means crowds are limited to over-18s.
An all-ages venue outside the pubs and clubs would help revive the live music scene in Toowoomba, and give teens a chance to see them play.
Arts scene revival
FIRST Coat has left its mark on the CBD but the popular festival ended its run in Toowoomba last year. We want to see that Australia’s largest outdoor art gallery in a city renowned for its artistic flair and creations isn’t relegated to a faded past.
Hall of Fame
OUR sporting greats have carved their names on the nation’s record books, and last year saw the first inductees into the Toowoomba Sports Hall of Fame. Arthur Postle, John McDonald, Nikki Hudson and Tom Gorman are now immortalised at Cobb + Co Museum, but we want to see more recognition for both the Hall of Fame, and more sporting greats recognised.
More direct flights
TOOWOOMBA needs more direct flights to and from major cities, and topping the list should be Canberra. With Groom MP John McVeigh now the Minister for Regional Development, Territories and Local Government, he will be leading the push for decentralisation. Linking Toowoomba direct with the nation’s capital will keep the region on the radar. Cheaper flights out of Wellcamp Airport would also be ideal as more residents use the service.
AN EXISTING agreement with the V8 Supercars means as soon as the asphalt is laid and facility built, the roaring engines will be a reality in the city. But the roadblock remains funding for the designed park which includes camping grounds and driver training centres at Charlton.’