Continued rapid population growth and urban sprawl in south-east Queensland is leaving a fragmented landscape that is fast losing the ability and opportunity to provide for the environmental, economic, social and cultural needs of the region’s population and its visitors. Recent surveys have confirmed that 95% of residents value the natural environment in their area while more than 50% are concerned about urban sprawl affecting the character of south-east Queensland. Protection of greenspace has become a major public issue addressed regularly by leading State and local newspapers. Various solutions are being sought to meet the challenges of the region’s environmental sustainability and livability.
The concept of regional parks had its genesis a decade ago with the SEQ 2001 project. Since then the concept has evolved through different cycles of the Regional Framework for Growth Management, the primary regional planning strategy for south-east Queensland. Under the leadership of the Regional Landscape Strategy Advisory Committee, this discussion paper continues the process of evolving regional parks as a solution to outstanding recreational and open space needs of the region. This paper has been prepared by a working group representing a range of State, local government and community interests. The paper establishes a vision for a network of regional parks and is intended to raise awareness amongst government and community stakeholders of their benefits. Continued discussion and broadening collaboration on achieving a network of regional parks is hoped to follow the release of the discussion paper.
Regional parks are a well-established concept in other States and other developed western countries protecting natural and cultural resources and offering quality recreational and educational experiences for large urban populations. Regional parks or recreation parks have a specific land tenure in most other states. Further, in Sydney and Melbourne active programs of land acquisition have acquired significant land parcels ahead of urban growth to serve as regional parks. Regional parks fill a niche between larger, natural State reserves and smaller local council parkland.
South-east Queensland has lagged behind other States and other developed countries not only in the acquisition of significant parcels of land for outdoor recreation but also in the appraisal of the full environmental, social and economic benefits they can deliver.