10 things that will change life in Gympie
CHANGE is inevitable - but that does not mean it is a bad thing.
This year Gympie will experience a lot of the good, with some major projects which will reshape life in the region expected to start or finish by the end of the year.
1. Youth Precinct
The question of what young people can do in regional areas is time worn.
This precinct is a crystal clear answer, with a skate park, climbing wall and picnic space all planed for the site of Gympie's old Memorial Pool as part of a $2.8 million re imagination.
Stage one of the project is well under way and expected to finish in October.
The shell of the original canteen and staff building has been saved, and development has been guided by consultation with the skating and BMX demographics who are likely to be its frequent visitors.
2. Coondoo Creek bridge
Building a bridge might not sound like a cause for celebration.
However, the rebuilt Coondoo Creek Bridge will change how long the region's coastline is cut off from the city centre during floods.
Work on the $14 million project is expected to start by the end of the year, with Transport Minister Mark Bailey announcing last year "construction needs to happen in the dry season (April-December)”.
3. Gympie Bypass
It is the $1 billion project that will change Gympie: a 26km stretch which will strip congestion from the city in favour of a clean run from Six Mile to Curra.
Even without yet being built this new stretch of the Bruce Highway has shifted the day-to-day landscape of Gympie, with it being a key driver for upgrades of the CBD and Mary St.
Property values along the highway corridor are also expected to rise once the road becomes reality, and it will help open the region's north to industry opportunities.
After delays in the time frame, a Department of Infrastructure spokesman said full work on the highway was expected to start by the end of this year, to be finished in late 2023.
4. Kilkivan Equestrian Centre
Kilkivan was already known as a place to be thanks to its annual Great Horse Ride.
But now the town of 713 people will be able to compete for major events thanks to the $2 million joint commitment from Gympie Regional Council and the State Government.
The first sod was turned last month and work is to be finished in September - just in time to host to more than 1000 horses and their riders at this year's grand event.
And by bringing more people to the Gympie region's western reaches throughout the year, the centre will inject more money into the towns.
5. Curra Shopping Centre
This long-awaited Curra development is going to cause a big shift in the region's northern corridor.
The centre will become the primary go-to for more than 6000 residents and is expected to have a childcare centre, bakery and medical centre.
Developers are still awaiting approval from Gympie Regional Council but are keen to have work start as soon as possible.
6. Curra Motorbike Park
Curra's newest sports park is already making waves thanks to its success in landing the MX nationals round 6.
Between 6000 and 10,000 people are expected to roar into the region for the event, making it one of the biggest draws for the region in the past few years outside the stalwart Muster.
And the event has been secured for the next four years in a major coup for developer Mark Bishop and Gympie's economy, bringing truth to the platitude "build it and they will come”.
7. Woolooga solar farm
This 185MegaWatt solar farm is one of two such developments headed to Gympie's west.
Construction of this 415ha project is expected to begin this year.
The park will not be finished once the solar farm is running, though.
Plans are also in the works for a wind farm to be built at the site.
It will help put the region at the forefront of the transition to renewable and clean energy, as well as bring an influx of jobs during construction.
8. Mellor St
Mellor St is a major thoroughfare and has the Gympie Library, Civic Centre and shops at its top end.
And now the stretch is getting a safety and beauty overhaul.
Footpaths which were beginning to show their age and could snag an ankleare being refurbished, landscaping and trees are being installed and on-street parking bays established in the $500,000 overhaul.
9. Coffee Club
Caffeine lovers are in for a treat when contemporary Australia-owned Coffee Club chain takes up residence in Gympie Central Shopping Centre where the doctors used to work.
Alfresco dining is on the cards too, and the franchise chain will bring another major retailer - and with it more foot traffic - to the centre.
10. Albert Park Change Rooms
New change rooms might sound like a small thing but for the thousands who take the field at Albert Park it is a huge step.
The original change rooms had not been significantly modified in decades, and they are just a small piece of the overhaul in progress for Gympie's popular sports venue.
The new rooms will adjoin the park's main structure, which will be overhauled. There are plans to shuffle sports fields to create a field for touch football, and ultimately turn the venue into a drawcard for major events.