Framed on three sides by an impressive green canvas of approximately 40 hectares of protected natural bushland, Birkdale Community Precinct has been designed to showcase the beauty of Redlands Coast and the enviable lifestyle it affords.
The precinct’s green belt represents nearly two-thirds of the entire 62-hectare site and uniquely sets it apart from other city parklands in the south-east Queensland region.
The hourglass-shaped development footprint in the centre of Birkdale Community Precinct where community facilities will be established, is cradled inside the dense bushland that is being retained and enhanced as a dedicated conservation area.
It means that whether you are visiting the restored pioneer-era Willards Farm or the World War II commemoration gardens, swimming in the lagoon, attending an outdoor concert or jogging on the precinct’s 2km running track loop, you will be surrounded by this green scape that is home to koalas, wallabies, and an incredible variety of birdlife.
It also means that regional, national, and international spectators at the Redland Whitewater Centre for the Brisbane 2032 Olympic and Paralympic Games canoe slalom events, will be watching with a background forest of iconic Australian flora such as scribbly, grey, spotted and red gums, paperbarks, banksias, silky oaks and she oaks.
All of this belies that it neighbours vibrant commercial and suburban hubs. It is accessed from the major double-laned road connecting Capalaba and Birkdale (Old Cleveland Road East) and situated a short walk from the Capalaba Town Centre that is set to undergo a $250 million revitalisation project aimed at delivering a world class, active, urban heart for Capalaba.
Council’s General Manager for Advocacy, Major Projects and Economic Development, Chris Isles, says Council is proud to be partnering with the Queensland Government on the delivery of the Redland Whitewater Centre which will be a key component of Birkdale Community Precinct.
“The State and Federal-funded Redland Whitewater Centre will put south-east Queensland squarely in the international spotlight,” Mr Isles says.
“This will be a valuable opportunity to showcase our city and region to the world as Birkdale Community Precinct offers a true sampler of all those things we love about Redlands Coast.
“We are delighted to be working alongside the Queensland Government and Federal Government on the delivery of this facility under the Olympic Venue Partner Agreement that Council formally committed to on 1 April, 2021.
“It will be one important part of the wider precinct that is coming together as one of Queensland’s largest, most diverse and most exciting parklands.”
Mr Isles says the “haven of natural habitat” that encircles and links the precinct will be open to locals and visitors to explore and enjoy.
There will be approximately 2.8km of bushland walking trails, a schedule of wilderness experiences as well as educational opportunities for the public to appreciate the site’s protected natural habitat. The community will be able to celebrate the environment and ecology via facilities in the Conservation Hub that will have an emphasis on education with themes of wildlife and landcare represented proactively.
It is not only protected bushland, but Council will be actively improving the habitat.
Council was ensuring protection in perpetuity through a Conservation Agreement with the Federal Government that underpins the significance of this conservation area.
Council has committed to locking in an additional almost two hectares of the precinct as revegetation above and beyond the existing conservation area. This will involve the planting of thousands of locally important koala food trees and other native species across the precinct.
Extensive environmental studies have been undertaken since 2020, with additional ecological studies and surveys conducted since then to comprehensively inform the delivery of the precinct. Council will use the conservation area to protect, conserve, restore and enhance the koala habitat, subtropical and temperate coastal saltmarsh ecology and other ecological values identified within the conservation area.
Birkdale Community Precinct’s extensive conservation areas will be home to many of Council’s acclaimed and innovative environmental and koala protection programs and research activities.
Redland City Mayor Karen Williams has been a long-time advocate for opening up the Birkdale land to the community and was instrumental in securing it from the Commonwealth Government in December 2019 for purchase. It followed 10 years of lobbying the Government after concerns were raised that the Commonwealth was planning to sell the land for residential subdivision.
Cr Williams says she is proud that it is now back in community ownership and that it has an exciting future.
Birkdale Community Precinct has been designed as a place for the community to gather, relax and enjoy the best that Redlands Coast has to offer. It will reflect the values that make the city such an enviable place to live and work – a respect for nature, heritage and culture, and a spirit of community.
With first-class community and tourism facilities, benefits to the local economy including jobs for locals, and social wellbeing possibilities, Birkdale Community Precinct will be a place with a space for everyone.
“Brisbane has South Bank, Townsville has The Strand and Cairns has the Esplanade, and now Redlands Coast will have Birkdale Community Precinct,” Cr Williams says.
“Importantly, as an intergenerational project, Birkdale Community Precinct has been specifically designed with our youth in mind. It has somewhere for children to play; a place to learn about the area’s natural habitat; somewhere local bands can play on stage; and where young people can meet with friends.
“And it all will be framed by those hectares and hectares of wonderful bushland.”
The Birkdale Community Precinct Master Plan and associated Foundation Report were adopted by Redland City Council at its general meeting on 15 March this year. It outlines the delivery over the next 20 years of this financially sustainable, city-defining $300 million project for future generations.
Earthworks on the central community facilities footprint of Birkdale Community Precinct, such as the internal ring road, are expected to start this year.