Townsville is set for a major revitalisation with the declaration of a Priority Development Area (PDA) in key parts of the city’s waterfront.

The Townsville City Council had identified parcels of land on either side of Ross Creek and adjacent to the CBD following the overhaul of Queensland’s planning laws, which will create jobs and business opportunities across the state’s major provincial cities.

Queensland’s Deputy Premier and Minister for State Development, Infrastructure and Planning Jeff Seeney says the PDA will pave the way for the transformation of 97.2 hectares of the city’s outer CBD.

Proposals for development in the area will be assessed under a streamlined Development Approval process against criteria established after public consultation.

Under the new PDA, planning and approval responsibilities will be shared, with Council responsible for planning and development assessment for the majority of the site, and the State Government retaining responsibility for the strategic port land. On this end, the State Government will work with the Port of Townsville to facilitate developments that complement port activities.

“This Priority Development Area will lead to more efficient planning and approval decisions, faster construction starts, and a stronger Townsville economy,” said Seeney.

“Early next year, the public will have the opportunity to have a say about the conditions that will apply to new developments in the waterfront precinct.”

Townsville City Council Deputy Major Cr Vern Veitch says the announcement of the PDA will provide a point of different for future investment, recreation and civic life.

“We are looking to facilitate a transformation to this area, attract private investment and attract up to 30,000 people living and working in the wider CBD by 2030,” said Veitch.

“There are many opportunities for renewal, including a proposed boardwalk, pedestrian bridge, entertaining and dining strip, and parkland.”

Seeney has previously told the Townsville Bulletin that the end result of the special zone could be similar to the redevelopment of South Bank in Brisbane.

A draft plan for the Townsville Waterfront PDA is expected to be released for public consultation in early 2015.