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Thomson River Master Plan

ABOUT: 

Longreach Regional Council is committed to continuing to attract tourists to our region while ensuring our town continues to be the best place for our residents to live, work, and play. The Thomson River Master Plan is an exciting new project that seeks to explore and unlock the future potential of the Thomson River.

The master plan has two key objectives: 
1.    Provide new and improved recreational activities for the local community; and 
2.    Attract more visitors to Longreach by enhancing the tourism potential of the river. 

Central to the master plan considerations will be ensuring the river can be managed in a way that respects its environmental value and long term sustainability. 

The Thomson River Master Plan will consider opportunities in three areas – enhanced recreational areas for the community; value-added tourism experiences for visitors; and preservation of the natural environment. Potential outcomes of the project are better nature walk paths, enhanced access to the river for swimmers, more picnic and public toilet areas, as well as a variety of camping options.

To learn more about the project, please click on the link below to access the first project newsletter.

View the project newsletter here

MASTER PLAN AREA:

The Thomson River Master Plan precinct extends 12 kilometres along the Thomson River from the Fairmount Weir in the north east to the Town Weir in the south west. The primary focus of the master plan will be the 4km stretch of the river from Apex Park towards Fairmont Weir (shown in dark green on the map below).

TRMP area

PROJECT DELIVERY:

Longreach Regional Council has appointed planning and design company Urbis to assist Council in developing the Thomson River Master Plan. Urbis is a market-leading firm that is responsible for designing some of Queensland’s most iconic riverfront areas, including the Rockhampton Riverside Precinct and Queen Street Wharf. The project is broken into three stages:

  1. Site Understanding and Assessment: develop an understanding of the precinct, the community, and potential opportunities and constraints. 
  2. Developing the Master Plan: provide a shortlist of case studies for master plan inspiration, undertake a visioning exercise, and begin drafting the master plan/strategies. 
  3. Master Plan Finalisation: Finalise the master plan, prepare an implementation plan, and present findings to Council for endorsement.

The project commenced in March 2020. It is expected that a draft master plan will be available for public comment during the third quarter (Q3) of 2020.

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS:

We understand that you most likely have further questions about the project. You can check before for answers to some of our most frequently asked questions, or you can get in touch using the contact information below if you can’t find what you are looking for. 

The Thomson River Master Plan focuses on revitalising the stretch of land along the Thomson River between the Fairmont Weir to the Town Weir. This stretch of land adjoining the river is approximately 12 kilometres in length. It is anticipated that the master plan’s primary focus will be the 4km stretch upstream from Apex Park (the ‘core master planning area’) towards Fairmont Weir. 

The master plan will focus on ways to revitalise or repurpose existing infrastructure and assets within the core master plan area (for example, the boat ramp and Outback Watersports Club). The master plan will likely include softer interventions for the remainder of the master plan area (the ‘secondary master plan area’), which may include recommendations for proving public toilets, shelters, or better lighting in certain areas. 
 

Longreach Regional Council has appointed planning and design company Urbis to assist Council in developing the Thomson River Master Plan. Urbis is a market-leading firm that is responsible for designing some of Queensland’s most iconic riverfront areas, including the Rockhampton Riverside Precinct and Queens Wharf. 

Longreach Regional Council wants to ensure that there is consistent and long-term planning surrounding the future use of the Thomson River precinct. A master plan is an effective tool to do this. The master plan will incorporate a long-term vision for the area, as well as outline strategies to improve certain sub-precincts within the area. 

The master plan has two key objectives:  

  1. Provide new and improved recreational activities for the local community; and 
  2. Attract more visitors to Longreach by enhancing the tourism potential of the river. 

Central to the master plan considerations will be ensuring the river can be managed in a way that respects its environmental value and long term sustainability.
 

Although the master plan is being prepared during the Covid-19 pandemic, Longreach Regional Council is taking this opportunity to plan for a return of tourism to Longreach post Covid-19.  It is expected that the pandemic will have little impact on the implementation of the master plan, which will occur over a number of years. The master plan will mean the community and businesses are more prepared for future tourism seasons. 

One of the objectives of the master plan is to ‘attract more visitors to Longreach by enhancing the tourism potential of the river’. To understand how to achieve this, the master planning process will involve various discussions with the local community and businesses.

It is expected that economic opportunities will arise from the Thomson River Master Plan, particularly in tourism-related industries such as food and beverage, retail, tours, and attractions. It is likely that the master plan strategies will seek to promote economic opportunities by:

  • recommending investments to improve existing infrastructure; and 
  • facilitating opportunities to expand or establish new businesses within the Thomson River precinct.  
     

It is likely that the master plan will have very limited impacts on Longreach residents in the short term while the master plan is being developed. Once the master plan has been endorsed and some of the initiatives implemented, it is expected that residents will be able to enjoy improved access, facilities, and amenity within the master plan area. This may include, for example, better access to Apex Park, improved access to the river and better walking paths, improved shading, and enhanced picnic areas.

The master plan project commenced in March 2020. The draft master plan is expected to be available for public comment in the third quarter of 2020. The implementation of the strategies within the master plan will occur incrementally over time. 

Whilst the master plan will provide the ‘road map’ for future decision making within the precinct, it does not commit Council or any other stakeholder to delivering the outcomes. This will be subject to normal funding and approval requirements (for example, through private investment opportunities, government funding procedures, and development assessment requirements).

The master plan will primarily seek to create a more attractive and more easily accessible place for locals and visitors to enjoy. The majority of changes will focus around Apex Park and immediate surrounds (i.e. the core master planning area). Some of the initial changes that are being considered for the master plan include improving access points to the river for swimmers, creating additional picnic areas and public toilets, improving the camping offering, and creating walking paths along the river.

Key to the success of the master plan will be understanding the views and aspirations of community, industry, and stakeholders. Longreach Regional Council will be hosting a range of engagement activities during May 2020 to talk with the community and various stakeholders. The community will be notified of these activities through project newsletters and information available on the Longreach Regional Council website.

Initially the intention was to conduct face to face meetings and community information sessions at the start of the project. However, due to current circumstances with Covid-19, these meetings cannot be undertaken as planned. As such, video conferences, an online survey, and phone interviews will be arranged to engage with stakeholders and community members. 

For further information about the project, inquiries can be directed to:
Office of the Mayor & CEO 
P: (07) 4658 4111 
E: assist@longreach.qld.gov.au  

HAVE YOUR SAY:

Council values the community’s opinion and would like to invite everyone to contribute to the development of the master plan. If you wish to have your say, provide feedback, or have an idea that you would like to share with Council, please start by taking the time to complete our online survey:

Complete our online survey here!

You can also contact the project team via the below details if you would like to ask questions about the master plan:

Office of the Mayor & CEO:
P: 07 4658 4111 
E: assist@longreach.qld.gov.au