The internationally awarded Ingham Revitalisation Strategy
“Our Town Our Future”
In 2005 Vital Places was commissioned by Hinchinbrook Shire Council to help turn Ingham and the broader shire into a stronger, more vibrant community. Vital Places provided expert assistance in delivering this place-based enterprise project, by guiding the development of The Ingham Revitalisation Strategy. This internationally awarded Strategy provides a catalyst for sustainable change, and is now on its way to achieving great things for both the town and the shire.
Ingham is the social and economic heart of Hinchinbrook Shire in North Queensland. However, in 2005, after decades of economic and social decline, the community of Ingham and the broader Shire united to embrace a new future. They sought a future that would…
“protect their lifestyle and provide jobs for the kids”.
This community vision posed the challenge of keeping things the way they were, yet make bold enough changes to reinvigorate the local economy.
Vital Places immediately recognised that revitalising Ingham required far more than streetscaping. “We needed to keep the main streets local and grow the town to be a world-class tourism and lifestyle destination,” says Vital Places Director, Robert Prestipino.
Through extensive community consultation and visioning, and strengthening the Local Government?s ability to lead the change, Vital Places guided the creation of the 20-year Ingham Revitalisation Strategy.
The Strategy provides an innovative master plan for the Ingham CBD, based on the identification of four distinct commercial precincts within the town. Each precinct builds on existing uses and opportunities to help create a vital town centre where public assets benefit the local community and provide a catalyst for increased economic activity.
An Integrated Action Plan has provided the tools – a range of physical, cultural and economic activities – to cost effectively and quickly deliver triple bottom line benefits for Ingham.
These activities include “Ingham Heartbeat Projects” such as a Town Trail, the launch of a wetland centre and a yearly events program. They also include “Enterprise Initiatives” focused on elements such as a cultural and technology centre, sustainable housing, and a parkland, lagoon and elevated walkway.
The Strategy is driven by the use of an integrated cluster of public infrastructure projects, designed to break the stigma of decline and create a new confidence for increased private sector investment in the town.
While the Ingham Revitalisation Strategy is in the early stages of implementation, it is expected to deliver significant regional benefits including:
A total of more than $330 million in direct benefits to the Region
A 70% benefit flow to the neighbouring areas of Townsville and Thuringowa… Delivery of a multiplier of 11 for every dollar spent in the shire
The creation of 200 new jobs within 10 years, which will boost the local economy $12M to $20M p.a. and attract 400 to 500 new residents
Establishing the shire as the “wet tropics gateway” for the Townsville region.
The Ingham Revitalisation Strategy achieved excellent community response rates and support levels. An extensive follow-up survey of stakeholders showed community support for the Revitalisation Strategy was 82%. This response rate was also twice as high as the previous shire-wide survey, and included a higher response rate from all age groups under 55 years old.
The Ingham Revitalisation Strategy has received multiple awards, including:
- Australian Institute of Landscape Architects – National Awards 2008 National Award for Landscape Planning
- Australian Institute of Landscape Architects – Queensland 2007 Project Awards – State Award for Best Overall Project
- Australian Institute of Landscape Architects – Queensland 2007 Project Awards -Award for Excellence for Planning
- Australian Institute of Landscape Architects – Queensland 2007 Project Awards -Commendation Award for Research & Communication
- Planning Institute of Australia – Queensland Chapter Awards 2007 -Award for Excellence for Media (Public)
- International Association for Public Participation – Australasian 2006 Core Values Awards – Highly Commended Award for Robust Public Participation Process
- Planning Institute of Australia – Queensland Chapter Awards 2006 – Certificate of Merit for Rural & Regional Planning Achievement
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“The passion, belief and honesty Vital Places has brought to this challenge has transformed our Council. For the first time, we not only own a vision for the future of our Shire but we now have the tools to deliver it.”
Hinchinbrook Mayor, Cr. Giuseppantonio ('Pino') Giandomenico
“Vital Places has played a pivotal role in helping us set the momentum for a strategy that will turn our Town and Shire around, as well as deliver an inspirational case study for other communities.”
Cr. Sherry Kaurila