The riverwalk reconstruction is just one of the projects underway as the city comes alive with a building boost

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

Lord Mayor Graham Quirk

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A new financial year means the start of new projects and Brisbane has been a hive of activity since 1 July. Whether it’s building better roads, parks, footpaths and community facilities like libraries and halls or even continuing to deliver record levels of maintenance such as grass cutting, tree trimming, pot hole repair or graffiti removal, my team is delivering on our budget promises. You may have also noticed that we’re busy building on water with the reconstruction of Brisbane’s riverwalk kicking off in the last couple of weeks. It’s certainly not hard to miss, with a 55 metre-long barge now parked outside Howard Smith Wharves after making its way up from the Port of Brisbane carrying a 280 tonne crane.

The barge is also equipped with a large drill, which will be a vital part of riverwalk’s construction as it begins driving the walkway’s concrete foundations into the river bed. The crane will drop a total of 37 concrete piles into place along riverwalk’s 850 metre-long alignment over the next nine months. These will be key to the new fixed design and will allow any future flood waters to wash over the structure rather than have it trying to float with the tide and breaking away from its moorings like its infamous predecessor in 2011.

While we appreciate the old floating riverwalk design was a good concept, I think the majority of people now accept it was impractical from both a maintenance and flood resilience point of view. This has been reflected by the overwhelming support for a fixed structure when we put a range of different designs out for public consultation. The new riverwalk will also separate cyclists and pedestrians ensuring safety while allowing both parties to travel at their own pace. I think starting construction on riverwalk is another reminder that, while the city was able to get back on its feet relatively quickly after the January 2011 floods, the recovery still goes on for many people and we’re committed to ensuring we follow through the city’s reconstruction to the end. I’d also like to thank the federal and state governments for funding the riverwalk’s reconstruction through the Natural Disaster Relief and Recovery Arrangements. It is expected to be completed mid-2014 weather permitting.

Another project we’re delivering is a major overhaul to our Citysafe closed circuit television (CCTV) camera network in the CBD and Valley. This $900,000 council project, which the Newman Government has generously put $350,000 towards, will see the current CCTV network’s 64 cameras upgraded to a fully digital system that will be clearer and provide a better change of identifying offenders. It will also minimise disruptions currently experienced by the old analogue system and provide greater backup facilities should the system go down to ensure evidence is not lost if an incident occurs.

We’re also installing cameras at seven new hotspots in the CBD and Valley to boost safety. However one of the biggest improvements will be allowing the live streaming of cameras onto devices such as smartphones or tablets. This is a major step forward in the fight against crimes such as violence and graffiti and will hopefully lead to faster intervention if an incident occurs. I understand the reservations about CCTV monitoring and the right to privacy, but the only people who have access to this vision are trained professionals from the Queensland Police and Council. The cameras are as much about deterrence as they are about capturing incidents; however I like to put it to people that if something was to happen to them, wouldn’t they prefer it be caught on camera? I see CCTV as a way of not only ensuring the safety of residents, but also boosting economic development in this city.