Redevelopment enhances Esplanade experience

After nine months of construction, the use of more than 3750 square metres of granite and 1634 tonnes of sand, and the inclusion 7274 plants, the redeveloped Esplanade Dining Precinct was officially opened today.

Cairns Mayor Bob Manning was joined by Member for Cairns Michael Healy today for the opening function with local traders, contractors and invited guests.

The Cairns community will get its chance to celebrate the opening of the $28 million project later this month with a public opening party on 27 June, headlined by Australian pop icon and multi-award winning artist Christine Anu.

Cr Manning said the project enhanced the best features of the Esplanade, creating more space for dining, improving views to the parklands and increasing pedestrian walkways.

“Our locals and visitors bring the Esplanade to life and we can’t wait to see even more people jogging, walking, dining and admiring the beauty of what Cairns has to offer,” Cr Manning said.

“We want this project to be a driver of rejuvenation of the CBD precinct.

“We need more tourists walking our streets, which is why we committed to this project and to the restoration of the Court House, to make the CBD a more attractive place to visit.”

Along with an open feel integrating dining and the green spaces, new pavers and contemporary awnings, a highlight of the redevelopment is a 5.5-metre high vertical garden featuring over 700 plants.

As part of today’s celebrations, Cr Manning and Mr Healy cut a cake and used water guns to christen the giant green wall.

“Today we celebrate the official opening of this significant project and acknowledge the patience and perseverance of the Esplanade traders, as well as the contribution of contractors and employees who worked to make this vision a reality,” Cr Manning said.

Council allocated $25 million for the Esplanade Dining Precinct redevelopment.

More than 164 construction jobs were supported during the 12-month redevelopment, which was fast-tracked to limit the disruption to traders and maximise the city’s appeal once tourists return.

Mr Healy said the Queensland Government’s Building our Regions program contributed $3 million to the project in Round 5.

“As a proud Cairns local, I am so excited to be part of today’s opening, to see more locals and visitors bring the Esplanade to life,” Mr Healy said.

“The Esplanade has been a focal point for locals and visitors to Cairns since the late 1800s, and we are pleased to have contributed to this $28 million project to reinvigorate the area.

“Importantly, 164 construction jobs were supported during all stages of construction.

“Projects funded under BoR Round 5 focus on construction and planning projects that will create and sustain long-term employment in regional Queensland.”

Public opening

The Cairns community will be invited to celebrate the opening of the Esplanade Dining Precinct later this month with an all-day party headlined by a performance by Cairns-born singer Christina Anu.

A multi-award winning artist, Anu was born in Cairns and is well known for her hits Island Home, Sunshine on a Rainy Day and Party.

The public opening on 27 June from 10am to 6pm will also feature an array of homegrown entertainers, performances by over 50 local groups, a live art gallery, street markets, spoken word and poetry slams, and a kids’ zone.

More details about the public opening will be made available in coming weeks.

The project

Extending along the Esplanade from Aplin Street to Shields Street, and also including the section of Shields Street from the Esplanade to Abbott Street, the Precinct features a modified and gently curving road alignment that allows the dining area to be extended and brings green space of the Esplanade Parklands closer to the outdoor venues.

The retention of one-way traffic along Esplanade allows for safer pedestrian movements and will also reduce unwanted noise.

The design of the road and footpath also allows the precinct to be easily transformed into a pedestrian-only space for major public events.

Wider footpaths feature new consistent pavements and clearly defined areas for pedestrians and diners, the new awnings provide enhanced weather protection, and vibrant lightingimproves night time experience.

A feature of the redevelopment is a striking vertical garden wall measuring 5.5 metres tall and almost 4 metres wide, which features 720 plants.

The upgrade also includes a revamp of the Lagoon plaza area, which features an eye-catching checkerboard paving pattern and a distinct ‘wave’ lawn at the Shields Street and Esplanade intersection.

CONSTRCUTION BY THE NUMBERS

Vertical garden: Frame 5.47m high x 3.97m wide; 720 plants

Total number of plants used on the project (including the vertical garden) – 7274

Concrete used – 1770 cubic metres

Gravels/aggregates used – 3467 tonnes

Asphalt used – 630 tonnes

Sand used – 1634 tonnes

Area of granite – 3756 square metres

Total length of underground stormwater drains – 640 metres

Total area of turf laid – 1360 square metres

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