Last week, The Brisbane Times reported that work on the pedestrian link across the Brisbane River, to be named the Neville Bonner Bridge, will begin in early 2020 and will finish two years later in 2022.

Community group, Kurilpa Futures says that this work has been progressed by the Queensland Government despite strenuous public opposition. It says it is puzzled and appalled by the decision to construct the bridge when the existing Goodwill and Victoria Bridges, both with plenty of spare capacity, are only 5 minutes’ walk away in either direction along the riverside.

The Brisbane Times reported that the new bridge was included as part of Destination Brisbane‘s tender for the Queen’s Wharf Development, with a cost to the consortia, “somewhere in the order of $100 million”.

Tourism Industry Development Minister Kate Jones is reported as saying, “…this is a long-term investment which is reshaping Brisbane.”

Phil Heywood, Planning Spokesperson for Kurilpa Futures asks:

“Do residents want to see Brisbane reshaped by a new casino and 50 new associated restaurants and bars? How is this building community?”

“The new bridge is clearly intended to attract the high rollers and unhappy losers from the casino straight across the river into the heart of the city’s favourite family recreation area. This looks like a scheme to colonise, commercialise and contaminate a place of regular resort for people from all parts of the city, by funnelling in patrons of the Queen’s Wharf global gambling“.

Mr Heywood added,

“Kurilpa Futures is also concerned about the structure of the bridge at its landing points where the bridge links with the South Bank boardwalk. These design issues are important intrusions into a very popular park”.  

Kurilpa Futures says it is disturbed about the reported loss of four of the trees on South Bank to allow the bridge to “land” at South Bank directly in front of the Wheel of Brisbane, and what Mr Heywood describes as being “unsociably close to the well-loved Nepalese Pagoda and tropical gardens.”

Kurilpa Futures says it considers the bridge to be “a shocking waste of money at a time when inequality and social need are rising, and housing affordability is approaching crisis proportions in South Brisbane and West End”. 

“Boarding house tenants are being forced into sleeping rough on bitterly cold winter nights because there is insufficient emergency accommodation,” said Mr Heywood.  

Even though the State Government is not footing the bill for this work, Mr Heywood said that the $100million being spent on the bridge would be better spent creating public assets to meet real human needs.

Kurilpa Futures says it’s not too late for Brisbane City Council to lodge a formal objection, “to match its current bystander posture” and for Economic Development Queensland to withdraw support for this, “superfluous and potentially damaging link between the state’s largest proposed centre of “adult entertainment” and the city’s favourite tourist magnet and place of family recreation”.

“Just because this bridge will promote high spending does not mean it will be good for the life of the community” said Mr Heywood.

Schematic designs for the bridge can be seen HERE.

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