Plans show a more family-friendly, visually consistent CBD space

Ryrie Park North as drafted by the Heritage Landscape consultants Phillip-Marl. The space is categorised as a high activity children's area. Photo: Phillip-Marle.
Ryrie Park North as drafted by the Heritage Landscape consultants Phillip-Marl. The space is categorised as a high activity children's area. Photo: Phillip-Marle.

Related content: QPRC present anticipated CBD concept plans 

The highly anticipated presentation for Ryrie Park and Wallace Street by consultants Phillip-Marler was well received on Thursday night.

About 30 people attended the session run by design team Julie Marler and Baz Richards of Phillip-Marler, independent engineer Nick Mitchell and Queanbeyan-Palerang Regional Council Service Manager for Urban Landscapes Tim Geyer.

Presenting the concept plans, conversation was divided into parking, Ryrie Park and the beautification of Wallace Street.

Led primarily by Ms Marler, the biggest changes were in the upgrade to Ryrie Park and strategic streetscape of the Wallace and Duncan  Street intersection.

For Ryrie Park, the space was divided into Ryrie Park North and South by the consultants. 

For the South side, scattered furniture, the lack of trees and accessible pathways was the key problem in the area. It was labelled as not only a central meeting point for the future, but a more relaxed space.

Aerial photography presented by the consultant show the paths, which run across the park, was a later addition to the space. 

In around 1970, Wilson Street, which sits in between the North and Southern section of the park, was widened for parking.

Like the South side, plans for Ryrie Park North include more accessible paths in an effort to increase experience and mobility, but also a dedicated play area for younger and older children. The room full of people cheered upon the announcement of a skate park.

“The park will cater to two different types of experiences,” Mr Richards said.

“Young people have nowhere to go, no setting, now there are places for young people. That’s what we’re trying to provide.” 

Other suggestions included the reduction of two amenities to one near the swimming pool, and the planting and maintenance of more trees. 

“There is an issue with the succession of tree planting, “ Ms Marler said. “In 1881, 139 trees were plants, an arborist report prepared shows there are 86 trees in the park now.” 

Another significant addition to the Ryrie Park plan includes the transformation of Wilson Street to a 40 km p/h, high pedestrian zone. 

Following Ryrie Park, it was the Wallace and Duncan St intersection the consultants highlighted as a major opportunity for the town. Ms Marler said it was one of the first areas which stood out to the team.

“At the moment there are four important buildings,” she said. “It can become a designed hub for people to stand comfortably on without fear of what’s coming around the corner.” 

Repainting the building to their original colours and consistency in appearance was suggested to achieve this.

In addition to this, the safety of each corner, through pavement work and scattered green space, would also enhance this space.

The specificity in parking numbers was less clear, with the consultants citing much needed discussions with the Heritage Council and the Roads and Maritime Service (RMS) as factors to these plans.

Engineer Nick Mitchell proposed greater parking on Wallace Street could be achieved by utilising the council depot behind the National Theatre. This would also allow for more space for visitors.

“There wouldn’t be giant blue P pointing down the lane, it would only be something the locals know of,” he said.

An estimated 40-50 accessible parking could be created for employees and residents, or alternatively, 150 car parks if the space is constructed he said, depending on the council’s budget and scope. 

Mr Mitchell also focused on accommodating larger, travelling vehicles (12-20 metre in length) around Ryrie Park and a bus stop-off zone in front of the Albion. The latter idea was argued by some residents as restricting the visual amenity of the intersection.

He also proposed trapezoidal car shape spaces on Wallace St for drivers to park and exit in a forward motion. 

Other topic areas included the consistency in paving, with a proposed sandy-greyish 1mx600m visually softer blocks, an increase in disabled parking spaces, an electric car charging bay, a dedicated street signage plan and building railings. 

“This is not a constraint, it’s a major opportunity,” Ms Marler said. “As outsiders coming in we find it has very strong character. We want to beautify the streetscape to show off the place better without falling into the trap of gentrification.”

A conservation management plan was conducted for Braidwood in 1997 which the consultants cited as addressing similar ideas voiced on the night, including increased paths in Ryrie Park and placing greater emphasis on the memorial. 

“The objective is not to just design with the $500,000 and stop,” Mr Geyer said in response to a question about the council’s budget allocation to the project.

“We leverage what we have, and get more grant funding. If we’re not successful we spend what we have.”

Full designs of the concept plans will be available on the QPRC website, with residents encouraged to submit views and suggestions.

My Geyer said the council was also looking for staging priorities for the overall project.

The plans are expected to be finalised and brought to the new council in October this year.