Townsville City Council has a stated objective of revitalising the CBD, but the move to create character precincts, in older suburbs close to the CBD such as South Townsville (as reported in the Townsville Bulletin), is contrary to this objective. This is because it may prevent the construction of the apartment blocks that are necessary to generate the inner city population density that I would aim for as part of a CBD revitalisation strategy.
Townsville’s population is growing steadily (see chart for recent and historical trends) and I would urge the Council to attempt to channel a lot of future population growth into the inner city suburbs if it really wants to revitalise the CBD.
The decline of Townsville’s CBD since the 1980s has a lot to do with the weight of Townsville’s population shifting to outer suburbs, and the growing importance of Aitkenvale and Kirwan as commercial centres. If the Council wants the CBD to thrive, it needs to encourage more people to live in South Townsville, West End and North Ward, for example, as inner city residents would be more likely to shop in the CBD. But the Council won’t be able to do this if it constrains development through inappropriate heritage protection.