The Cairns city centre and Esplanade Parklands masterplans are currently being reviewed by engineering consultants Arup, with the idea being to prepare one single masterplan for the future redevelopment of the entire precinct. 

Collectively known as the ‘Cairns City Centre masterplan’, this revised blueprint will act as a guide for key projects over the next five years and will identify future opportunities for public space within the CBD while setting project goals to improve use of the area. 

The review will take in the area bounded by Wharf, Draper and Minnie Streets, plus the full length of the Esplanade and will highlight the area as the city’s primary cultural hub and promote connectivity with other key areas of the CBD.

Reflecting the main principles of the CairnsPlan 2016 Planning Scheme but with a stronger focus on tropical urbanism and connectivity, one key update to the Cairns City Centre Master Plan will be the incorporation of a smart city overlay.

According to Arup, some of the other key considerations of the master plan review include the Cairns Transit Network, cycling facilities, pedestrian facilities, parking provisions and layout of the overall road network, for the purpose of improving connectivity, accessibility and legibility between the key areas within the city centre.

This follows the latest Cairns council budget, which has allocated $169 million for capital works for the areas, including the $2.4 million replacement of the Esplanade boardwalk and $43.7 million to complete the Cairns Performing Arts Centre, which is due to open in mid-2018.

A further $10 million has been allocated to enhance footpaths, lighting, landscaping and traffic signals across the precinct area.