Shade for pedestrians using the Victoria Bridge has been a long-standing issue in Brisbane, and while promises of much-needed shading had brought hope to advocates, recent budget cuts have cast doubt on the project’s future.

Brisbane City Council announced funding cuts and pauses across a range of projects this month, including installing shading on Victoria Bridge. Lord Mayor Adrian Schrinner cited a need for a Council-wide savings drive to prevent avoidable costs from being passed on to Brisbane’s 1.2 million residents.

Queensland’s Transport Minister Mark Bailey told The Westender that the shade structures on Victoria Bridge were a pre-condition of the Queensland Government’s approval of Council’s Brisbane Metro project. He said Council announced the pause in the project without prior consultation with the Queensland Government, which has requested formal notice of the change.

This is a tired two-decade old council, who can’t keep election commitments, can’t manage projects and can’t manage their budget.”

“If Lord Mayor Schrinner cancelled his shameless self-promotion brochure in 500,000 Brisbane letterboxes every month, Brisbane City Council could afford to fund the shading of Victoria Bridge to protect people from skin cancer.” 

Minister for Transport and Main Roads, Mark Bailey.


In September 2020, during the last State Election, then-South Brisbane MP Jackie Trad and Minister for Transport Mark Bailey, announced a State Government agreement with Brisbane City Council to introduce shading on the Victoria Bridge. 

It took until May this year for Council announced plans to proceed with shading on the bridge under its City to South Bank Vision .

The Lord Mayor said at the time, “Shading Victoria Bridge will significantly enhance walkability between South Brisbane and the CBD, particularly during the hotter months of the year.” 

In June Council affirmed its commitment to walkability when it published a draft Walkable Brisbane Strategy. In its introduction, the Lord Mayor wrote about more shade for pedestrians as a key element in the strategy:

“The walkability of a city can have a direct impact on the quality of our lives and it’s just as much about delivering major infrastructure like new green bridges, as it is about delivering better footpaths near schools and other key destinations as well as more shade for pedestrians.”

Cr Schrinner wrote that the strategy will set the framework to identify and deliver more initiatives that, “make it easier, safer and more comfortable to walk in Brisbane”.

Project Stalled

In respect to the recent cancellation of the Victoria Bridge project a spokesperson for Brisbane City Council said work has been undertaken to ensure shading can be installed on Victoria Bridge in the future.

“With costs rising, governments have a very clear choice between reducing spending and increasing prices.

We’re undertaking sensible savings across Council to put downward pressure on future household rates.”

However, the decision to pause the shading project has drawn criticism from various quarters, with both the Greens and Labor accusing Lord Mayor Schrinner of reneging on his promises. 

Community Responses

The controversy surrounding the shading project has also sparked concerns from the West End and South Brisbane community for whom the bridge is a main connector to the CBD.

Urban planner Phil Heywood, who lives in the 4101 suburbs, voiced disappointment at the Council’s decision, saying it demonstrated a disregard for pedestrians and cyclists.

“The price of this mean-minded economy will be paid in dangers and discomfort for all those wanting to savour the experience of the city’s historic waterfronts, busy river scenes and celebrated vistas of the South Bank with its cultural buildings and recreational gardens, Mr Heywood said.

Pam Bourke of Kurilpa Futures pointed out the environmental implications of the decision during a climate emergency.

“It is a terrible decision. We are in a climate emergency with summers getting hotter. Council says they support active transport including cycling and walking.

If we want to encourage people to get out of their cars, we have to make our streets cooler and shadier in our hot summers. The Victoria Bridge is incredibly hot and exposed. Cutting the shade structure for the bridge is a bad decision for the city as a whole.”

Pam bourke, kurilpa futures

President of West End Community Association Seleanah More says the community can add Victoria Bridge shading to the list of  “promised but failed infrastructure for the Kurilpa peninsula” by the LNP Council.

“The list includes parks, CityCats, green bridges, pedestrian crossings, traffic lights and bike lanes.”

“The failure to deliver social infrastructure has not stopped Council’s push for hyper-density by allowing development that exceeds the local plan and the addition of 10,000 dwellings in the flood plain under the Kurilpa TLPI.”

Our community keeps hearing the same excuse of ” it’s too expensive ” to create a liveable urban neighbourhood in West End. Yet Council and State Government have driven property prices up in South Brisbane by allowing development up to 90 storeys under the Kurilpa TLPI.”

“The LNP Council keeps saying NO to community demands for essential infrastructure but Yes to developers requests for increased height, density and infrastructure discounts.”

Seleanah More, President, WECA

Among the planning hype for the Olympics, Southbank Masterplan and Kurilpa TLPI, buzz words flew of ‘walkability’, ‘connectivity’ and ‘sustainability’. The lack of investment in existing pedestrian infrastructure reveals the hollow words of Council,” Ms More said.

“Council’s record of infrastructure delivery will be scrutinised on the campaign trail by the people of Brisbane.”

Pedestrian advocate Anna Campbell of Queensland Walks stressed the importance of shading for pedestrians’ comfort and well-being, highlighting the inconsistencies in the priorities set by the Council.

“After years of advocacy to prioritise shading on key pedestrian routes like Victoria Bridge, we are surprised and disappointed to hear about the delay of this priority project. Brisbane residents have been incredibly patient navigating a construction site and changes to the Cultural Centre bus platform and they have patiently waited for shading on Victoria Bridge for years, but I suspect their patience is wearing thin. “

Ms Campbell noted that the Victoria Bridge shading project is featured on the front page of the recently released BCC Draft Walkable Brisbane Strategy. The Lord Mayor has also supported shading over playgrounds to help reduce the risk of skin cancer and the impacts of heat. But, she says, he has cancelled shading over Brisbane’s most vital river crossing link.

“We know that the bridge is accessed by the same families benefitting from playground shading, office staff and tourists, so we cannot understand this decision to postpone this project.”

“Heat and lack of shading are also acknowledged as barriers to walking within the strategy, and the Lord Mayor says that shading for pedestrians has a direct impact on the quality of our lives.

“We know that for every one dollar spent on walking, there is thirteen dollars in cost-benefit to business, physical and mental health and the community. 20,000 people walking and riding use Victoria Bridge on busier days which makes the investment in shading very good economics. We encourage Council to rethink this decision and not delay the project further.”

Anna Campbell, Queensland Walks

“Let’s build shading now to prevent the increasing building cost and respond to rising day time temperatures and hotter days.” 

Council has not provided a timeframe for the resumption of the project.


Wendy Aghdam, the Greens Candidate for Central Ward has created a petition in response to community concerns, calling on Brisbane City Council to review its decisions and reinstate funding for the bridge shading project.

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