Recovery work on the heavily damaged Colleges Crossing Recreation Reserve has reached two major milestones, with community consultation on the reserve’s future design beginning and a partial reopening planned.
Ipswich Mayor Teresa Harding said council expects the northeast corner of the reserve to reopen for public use in a limited capacity. The partial opening is expected on 30 April 2023.
“Colleges Crossing is much-loved place for our community to relax and spend time with family and friends, and it was heartbreaking to see the devastation wreaked by last year’s floods,” Mayor Harding said.
“The damage was extensive, and council has been working tirelessly since then to make the entire reserve safe, clearing flood debris, silt and damaged infrastructure.
“The cost of clean-up to date at Colleges Crossing is estimated to be close to $500,000, ahead of formal reconstruction works at a cost yet to be determined.
“We know how much the reserve has been missed by families this summer, and we’re pleased to have reached a point where the northeast corner of Colleges Crossing is nearly ready for reopening.
“At the same time, we are asking residents to provide feedback on a draft concept plan for the reserve’s future.
“The draft plan returns Colleges Crossing to a more natural and open state, with wide grassy lawns, trees, a gravel boat launch for canoes, a site for food trucks, and new public amenities.
“It’s clear that council cannot continue to rebuild Colleges Crossing to its previous state, as the risk of future flood damage and cost of recovery is unsustainable.
“That’s why community consultation on the draft plan will be open from Wednesday 22 March to Friday 21 April calling for feedback and ideas on how we can best activate and redevelop the reserve in a way that meets community need while prioritising resilience.”
The damage after the 2022 flood events.
The section expected to reopen is on the right-hand side of Bobby Auld Drive, between Mount Crosby Road and the Brisbane River, and will open for light recreational use such as exercise and picnics.
No designated water access point will be available in the reopened section; residents are encouraged to assess the risks and use their judgement if they wish to use the river for non-motorised watercraft, or small remote controlled craft activities.
Public toilets and water bubblers will not be available at the partially reopened section of the reserve, and as work continues on restoration and rehabilitation, parts of the reserve may have further temporary closures.
Major clean-up work at Colleges Crossing to date includes:
- the initial removal of flood debris
- the removal of damaged fixtures, shade sails, playgrounds and picnic tables
- earthworks to stabilise sunken soil
- pumping out damaged public toilets
- the removal of damaged electrical cables, barbeques and lights
- landscape repairs to prevent sediment run-off
- the installation of temporary fencing
- the removal of a damaged footpath; and
- the replacement of flood gauges.
Council installed a new flood camera to monitor the bridge at Colleges Crossing in November 2022.
The western side of Colleges Crossing will remain closed due to public safety concerns while repair work continues.
“It is a big milestone to have Colleges Crossing almost ready to partially reopen, following the February and May 2022 floods,” Environment and Sustainability Committee Chairperson Councillor Russell Milligan said.
“The work to partially reopen Colleges Crossing is not eligible for federal or state disaster funding, but council is committed to ensuring our residents can once again access the river and the reserve.
“Council’s draft concept design for a more flood-resilient design of Colleges Crossing harks back to its earlier days of being a natural riverbank frequented by families for swimming, canoeing, and picnics.
“You can tell us what you think of this draft plan, and provide your own ideas, at shapeyouripswich.com.au.”
Division 4 Councillor Kate Kunzelmann said it was important residents have their say on the future of Colleges Crossing.
“Council has heard the frustrations of residents at the lengthy closure of Colleges Crossing, but it is critical public safety is prioritised,” Cr Kunzelmann said.
“While work on rehabilitation of the western side of the reserve will continue, we’re pleased that a reopening date for the north-eastern side is now confirmed.
“This will allow Ipswich residents to once again stroll along the riverbank, have a picnic, and enjoy the beautiful Brisbane River.
“Council is committed to restoring Colleges Crossing to its rightful place as one of Ipswich’s most popular natural reserves, and we look forward to hearing from the community about their hopes for its future.”
Residents of both Ipswich and the neighbouring suburbs of Brisbane on the opposite side of the Brisbane River are urged to visit www.shapeyouripswich.com.au/collegescrossing to provide feedback on the proposed redesign.
Council will hold community consultation pop-ups on the draft Colleges Crossing plan at these locations:
- Karalee Shopping Centre, Saturday 25 March, 9am-11am (Library hub outside Coles)
- Nicholas Street Precinct, 2, 5, and 6 April, 9am-1pm (Tulmur Place)
- Riverlink Shopping Centre, Thursday 13 April, 6pm-8pm (community booth near food court)