Sister City relationship continues to blossom

Ipswich City Council has welcomed a delegation from sister city Nerima City to progress an update to the masterplan for the popular Nerima Gardens in Queens Park.

The six-member delegation represents the Nerima Gardens Renovation Task Force (NGRTF), who is working with council officers, including landscape architects, open space planners and field services officers, to map out the future of the Nerima Gardens.

Mayor Teresa Harding said the gardens, which opened in 2001, feature a careful balance between local and Japanese characteristics and natural elements including Nerima’s floral emblem, the Azalea, and Ipswich’s own Eucalyptus Curtisii.

“Nerima Gardens are inspired by the Sister City link between Ipswich and Nerima City, Japan, and the philosophy of the garden is to create a place of peace and tranquillity, a place to meet nature and calm the spirit,” Mayor Harding said.

“However, it’s no secret that the gardens have been impacted by our native flying foxes which has caused partial closure of the gardens for safety.

“And that’s why the revised master plan for Nerima Gardens will consider responses to climate change, long-term sustainability, environmental values and challenges, including flying foxes.”

The updated master plan will also seek to establish an ongoing level of access for the local and broader community to enjoy the beauty of the gardens, which is renowned as a major draw card for the City of Ipswich.

Infrastructure, Planning and Assets Committee Chairperson Councillor Andrew Antoniolli said it was the start of an exciting new journey for council, the gardens and the Sister City relationship.

“Nerima Gardens are one of our city’s most-loved public spaces, and I’m delighted that as part of our 30-year relationship we can now find new ways to enhance these beautiful community gardens while further strengthening our bond with Nerima City,” Cr Antoniolli said.

“Council officers have worked closely with the Nerima delegation during this visit and will continue to in order to develop a masterplan to ensure the gardens are responsive to climate change, sustainable for the long-term, and our community, and continue to provide a serene and peaceful place for our residents to enjoy.”

In October 1988 a delegation led by the then Nerima Deputy Mayor Mitsuishi visited Australia seeking a ‘Sister City’. After visiting three Australian cities, Ipswich was selected as the most suitable owing to the similarities between the two cities.

Like Ipswich, Nerima is located adjacent to a capital City, namely Tokyo. Nerima is 48.17 square kilometres and one of twenty-three Wards of Tokyo. Other similarities are the proximity to an international airport and both Ipswich and Nerima are in the same time zone.

The Sister City relationship was formalised on 15 October 1994.

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