REVEALED: Plans proposed to develop part of Queens Park
THE future of Queens Park's batting cages and rugby fields are in question as a section of the park is highlighted as a potential development zone.
Mackay Regional Council's proposed Waterfront Priority Development Plan has subdivided Queens Park, with 15,000 square metres of park lands classified as an 'investigation area'.
The potential rezoning of the fields, at the corner of East Gordon St and Creal St, will allow the council to develop, or even sell the land at a future date.
While the council said it had no immediate plans for the park, the potential rezoning is already worrying residents and developers alike.
Creal St resident Shelley Gill said she was completely opposed to any sub-division of the park.
"It's a lovely park, why cut it up? Why destroy something like that? It has been a part of Mackay for years."
Maria Martinez is a new resident to Creal St, but she already has formed many fond memories at her neighbourhood park with her two-year-old son Jaron.
"My son plays there twice a week. As a mother, I'm against it."
Even developers are nervous about the loss of public green spaces. In a submission to council the Urban Development Institute of Australia warned "the development would remove an area of existing parkland appreciated by the community".
The institute argued that the site would not be a "prime site for residential development or catalytic for the city ".
Developer Mark McGrath said there was a concern the council's potential sale of the land would undermine other developments in the region.
"There are plenty of other existing privately owned land sites available... there is no need for council to compete with the private development industry by selling off parkland or developing units on parkland."
He argues that Queens Park should remain as park land for "future generations, especially as traditional backyards get smaller and smaller for kids to play".
Mackay Regional Council development services acting director Teona Cousin said the area marked for potential development was a lesser-used area of Queens Park.
Some residents admit that the area is unpopular with park visitors, Creal St resident Janelle Burdon noting she has "never seen anyone use the cricket nets".
The area itself is looking worse for wear, with the rugby fields covered in weeds and the cricket batting cages overgrown and empty. In the very same development proposal, Mackay Regional Council has allocated $8.8million to revitalise Queens Park, with construction scheduled for June.
Ms Cousin said the classification of the park as an investigation area was not "a blanket endorsement of any development".
"Any future development in these investigation areas, other than 'community use' and 'park', would be subject to further community consultation."