Launceston ready to ignite in 2018
Published on 11 January 2018
The City of Launceston is gearing up for a huge year in 2018, with a number of major projects set to be rolled out.
Work on the North Bank pedestrian and cycle bridge is continuing well — all riverbed piles have been driven without issue.
The final abutment piles for the project will be driven this week, and fabrication has begun off-site on the bridge superstructure and deck assembly.
Civil works are continuing at the North Bank recreation area itself, with more than 2000 metres of pipes and cables being installed, and 5000 cubic metres of fill being imported to the site.
Landscaping works are expected to begin in February, including the planting of more than 15,000 plants and trees, followed by the construction of amenities and pavilions.
Prefabrication is already underway on the park's major attraction, the 12-metre tall 'Skywalk' and slide, which is expected to arrive in May.
Construction will continue at North Bank for a significant portion of the year, with Boral set to relocate from the site in the second quarter of 2018.
The Council advertised a call for tenders in December from experienced contractors to undertake the redevelopment of the Brisbane St Mall this year, following a four-week opportunity for public comment last August.
The Council expects to begin the Brisbane St Mall development by the second quarter and to have it finalised before Christmas 2018, while the Civic Square redevelopment is now in its second stage and is due for completion before the middle of the year.
Public consultation is currently underway on a new $650,000 playspace proposal for the Cataract Gorge, as part of the Reimagining the Gorge Project, and the Council expects to consider feedback and lodge a Development Application for that project later this month.
Depending on the outcomes of the public consultation and planning process, construction of the new playground is tentatively scheduled for winter 2018.
Meanwhile, work will start on an upgrade of Charles Street, between Howick and Frankland Streets, on Sunday January 14. The work will include the installation of a raised pedestrian crossing and is expected to be completed within four weeks, weather permitting. Motorists can expect short delays and restrictions to some on-street parking spaces in that section of Charles Street, and the Council would encourage people to take alternative routes while the works are completed.
A reconstruction of Cimitiere Street, between Tamar Street and Lawrence Street is also scheduled for the first quarter of 2018. Initial works will begin on Monday, January 15, with work proper to commence in late February.
The project will involve the reconstruction of the road to contemporary standards, with appropriate subsoil drainage and modern base materials.
From late February, road works in this section of Cimitiere Street will necessitate detours and alternate accesses to some businesses. The Council will provide more details on likely disruptions before work gets underway.
Both these road projects are taking place within the CBD on roads that are heavily utilised by motorists. The Council asks the public for patience and is working to ensure disruptions are minimised wherever possible. People interested in these projects, or other upcoming Council works, will find regular updates at launceston.tas.gov.au and on the Council's social media channels.
The Council will also continue work on a number of plans and strategies in 2018, including a high level municipal transport plan, which will include public consultation, a parking strategy, and a rural infrastructure plan, which will include an examination of roads, bridges, drainage and footpaths in rural parts of the municipality. The organisation will also review its strategic plan, strategic asset management plan and long-term financial plan this year.
The St Leonards Village Plan, designed to guide strategic development of that suburb in coming decades, is approaching its final draft and will go back out for public consultation this year.
The Council is also in the process of recruiting a dedicated Northern suburbs project officer, with the newly-created role designed to oversee the development of a Northern Suburbs Revitalisation Plan as part of the Launceston City Deal. The plan is aimed at enhancing the social, economic, and environmental living standards of residents and this strategic planning project will examine a range of social planning factors, including transport, housing, infrastructure, education and employment.
The Launceston City Deal has also resulted in the creation of the Tamar Estuary Management Taskforce, established by the State Government, with the City of Launceston and TasWater having submitted a joint report into the city's combined system to the taskforce shortly before Christmas.
The Council will also progress other elements of the City Deal, with a focus on Smart Cities initiatives like open data and the facilitation of new LoRaWAN communication technology networks. The Council has appointed a dedicated officer to oversee this work.
Now that the University of Tasmania has completed its master plan for its Northern campus expansion project, the City of Launceston is undertaking its own master plan for the balance of the site to provide a comprehensive Inveresk Masterplan. The Council will continue to work with the University as it finalises its plans for the new campus.
After the success of the Asset Based Community Driven Efforts Learning Site program in Rocherlea, the Council will roll the program out in Ravenswood this year.
Detailed 3D computer modelling of all ten urban stormwater catchments in the municipality will also be completed this year.
The Council expects to transfer its fleet vehicle parking to the redeveloped C.H. Smith site before the middle of the year, which will in turn open up new parking opportunities elsewhere in the city for members of the motoring public.
New mobile devices, powered by the Android operating system, will be rolled out to the city's parking officers this year, replacing the old, outdated portable ticket machines.
Importantly, this new system will give the Council the option of trialling smartphone app parking payments in some spaces, with officers set to put a trial proposal before Aldermen in the second half of 2018.
Late last year the Council received the final approvals from the Environment Protection Authority for the construction of an organics processing facility at the Launceston Waste Centre, which will be used to process the material collected through the FOGO kerbside collection service rolled out last October.
Construction on the facility, which will include a high-tech forced aeration system, is expected to begin before the middle of the year.
In response to long-standing demand from residents in the CBD, the City of Launceston will also this year begin a trial of a CBD recycling service for residents, with details to be announced later in 2018.
The redevelopment of Macquarie House into an innovation and technology hub is expected to start in the first quarter of the year, along with an associated public amenities building.
Work on the new flood levee near Hart Street in Newstead is expected to be completed early this year.
The University of Tasmania Stadium's Gate One will be redeveloped to enhance the vehicle and pedestrian entrance, with work also expected to begin in the first quarter of the year.
Meanwhile the Council is establishing a turf farm to replace the stadium's surface, which has been in use for some 20 years, with the replacement scheduled to take place towards the end of the year. While this will inevitably result in the ground being out of action while the project is completed, the Council is continuing to work with local clubs and stakeholders to ensure disruptions are minimised.
Launceston Mayor Albert van Zetten said the City of Launceston had a stimulating and bold agenda for 2018.
"The City of Launceston is determined to continue to work with the Northern Tasmanian community on making our city the envy of regional Australia," Mayor van Zetten said.
"The sheer scale of the work the Council is overseeing this year is unprecedented, and we are enormously excited to deliver on such a visionary program of works and initiatives, in partnership with the people of Launceston and other tiers of government.
"I would encourage people to stay engaged with us as we roll out these various initiatives; take part in our public consultation processes, have your say when the opportunities arise, and don't wait until decisions have already been made to level your criticisms. We thank the many members of the community who already do this, and have been doing it for some time; who work constructively with us to make our city a better place; we look forward to working with you again in 2018.
"By the end of 2018, Launceston will boast one of the best playgrounds in Australia; with North Bank set to delight children from across the region.
"We'll have two newly redeveloped, contemporary CBD public spaces in Civic Square and the Brisbane St Mall, which have been designed in consultation with the people of Northern Tasmania, which are accessible, feature new technology and infrastructure, and which have been informed by best practice urban design.
"Depending on the outcomes of the planning and consultation processes, we'll have a brand new feature playground at the Cataract Gorge; one which celebrates the natural features and flora of the Gorge, one which is more accessible and less prone to damage from flood.
"Residents in low-lying parts of Newstead will be better protected from floods from the North Esk River, and Macquarie House will be transformed into a fantastic new asset for the city's technology and innovation enthusiasts, finally sparking a unique community use for this historic building.
"This year is going to be an exciting one.
"For several years now, the City of Launceston has been putting the various pieces in place — from developing strategies and concepts, undertaking community consultations, drafting plans and projects, securing funding, and then implementing final detailed designs.
"Many of these projects have long and complex histories, and much work has been going on behind the scenes from many dedicated people, who share a passion for our city and a desire to leave it better than they found it.
"Of course, it would not have been possible for us to develop these projects without the input and support of the public, and the people of Launceston.
"I believe the suite of projects we have on the books are testament to the vision of Northern Tasmania and its community.
"Launceston is ready to ignite. I can't wait."
City of Launceston General Manager Michael Stretton said the Council's operational arm was eager to deliver the various projects.
"From a staff point of view, we have a lot of passionate people who are very excited about the year ahead and the work that's already been undertaken with the elected representatives to get these projects off the starting line," Mr Stretton said.
"We have a very diverse range of projects to deliver and it's going to be a very exciting time for our organisation and the city as a whole."