River City tourism a focus of Lord Mayor’s $3B Budget

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk will enhance Brisbane’s river tourism and lifestyle in his 2017/18 Budget, with a $43 million investment over four years, to see the inner-city reaches of the Brisbane River awash with tourist, private and commercial vessels.

The Lord Mayor has revealed that his 2017/18 Budget will include $18 million over four years, for five on-water docking facilities in the city river reach, as well as five river lifestyle hubs in the suburban reaches of the river.

Cr Quirk said that a lack of marinas and mooring facilities had been preventing water taxis, tourist boats, and recreational boaters from docking at key riverfront entertainment and lifestyle precincts, stifling river-based tourism in the River City.

“Although international and domestic tourist numbers continue to climb for Brisbane, with more than 7 million tourists injecting $6.3 billion into Brisbane’s tourism industry each year, the river-based tourism and recreation sector is undeveloped,” Cr Quirk said.

“This investment will create an inner-city river access network at key entertainment precincts, catering to not only recreational boaters and tourist yachts, but also tour operators and water taxis.

“With a network of city mooring infrastructure, Brisbane visitors will be able to walk out of their hotel and straight onto a tour boat, taking a trip to some of our region’s most spectacular tourism destinations.

“The Brisbane River is the gateway to the Moreton Bay and islands, and with a network of docking points in the city, tourism operators will be able to offer new express services straight to North Stradbroke Island, South Stradbroke Island and Moreton Island.

“To add to this, visitors and residents alike will be able to take advantage of hop-on, hop-off river tours, and on-demand private water taxi services, which are currently unviable in Brisbane due to a lack of short-term mooring locations, particularly in the city.”

Cr Quirk said the new public moorings would be located at the Edward Street end of the City Botanic Gardens, New Farm Park, West End and at two locations at South Bank.

“These sites will be complemented by Council’s investment of $24.8 million over the coming four years to upgrade existing river walk structures along the inner city sections of the river,” he said.

“Council has already commenced planning work for a previously announced public pontoon at West End, and an expansion of the existing pontoon at South Bank near the Cultural Precinct into a public marina.

“These five new docking facilities will only be the beginning of our inner-city river access network. If successful, the network has the opportunity to expand to Teneriffe, Hawthorne, Kurilpa, Bretts Wharf, UQ, Mowbray Park, Newstead House and the Bulimba Barracks site in the future.

“All river-based facilities are subject to the approval of Marine Safety Queensland and I will be seeking a cooperative outcome to achieve a strong result for our River City.”

Cr Quirk said Council’s investment would also serve as a catalyst for private investment to expand an ever-growing river access network, in line with our booming tourism industry.

“In a few short years both the Destination Brisbane Queen’s Wharf precinct and the Howard Smith Wharves precinct will be key entertainment and lifestyle destinations for the inner-city, adding to existing riverside destinations at Hamilton Northshore, South Bank, Kangaroo Point, Eagle Street Pier and New Farm,” he said.

“Already Destination Brisbane and Howard Smith Wharves have indicated intentions to add to Council’s river access network with public mooring facilities and we expect more to follow.”

Cr Quirk said Council would also invest in a new recreation river hub at Dutton Park, to provide a jump-off point for kayaking, canoeing, stand-up paddle boarding and other non-powered watercraft.

“These leisure river activities have already proved highly popular at other locations, such as Kangaroo Point, and a Dutton Park recreation river hub will provide access to a reach of the river that is currently underutilised,” he said.

“Council will also continue its investment into lifestyle and leisure opportunities with new fishing platforms, pontoons and upgrades to boat ramp reserves, forming smaller recreational river hubs in suburban areas.

“Anglers can look forward to increased access with a new fishing platform at Carmichael Park in Hemmant, to be built in the coming year, and designs for a fishing platform at Moggill Ferry Park to be completed.

“Access to rowing, kayaking, canoeing, short-term tie-up of tinnies and other private vessels will expand with Council completing works at the Jindalee boat ramp and pontoon, design work for a new pontoon at Colmslie Beach Reserve and upgrades to Barungwarra Reserve facilities in Bald Hills.”