Townsville’s forging ahead

Saturday 17 September 2011

The diversity of Townsville’s economy has underpinned its economic performance over recent years and now, more than six months on from Cyclone Yasi, the region is once again looking ahead to a bright and successful future.

Townsville City Council recently adopted a community plan following extensive consultation with the public, businesses and community groups on their vision and values for the region over the next 10 years.

“The strongest message to come out of the community consultation was the importance of getting the balance right between development and growth, and the environment and lifestyle,” Lifestyle and Community Development chair Jenny Lane said.

A major project for the region is the expansion of Townsville Hospital, with its new $94 million North Block officially opened in mid-July. The hospital now has the largest emergency department in Queensland and will see more than 65,000 people each year.

In addition to the emergency department, North Block would house a 34-bed maternity ward, and an expanded intensive care unit. The hospital helps to deliver more than 2,500 babies each year.

The Townville Hospital expansion project will create more than 2,600 construction jobs over its life. The project is expected to be completed by 2014.

The Townsville property market has held its ground better than most over the past two years, mainly due to the diversity of its economy. But the six months-post Cyclone Yasi were a struggle, according to local agents.

However REIQ Townsville zone chair Marion Grice said the market had held steady throughout the June quarter and had continued to improve since that time.

“There just seems to be a nicer feeling out there in the marketplace over the past few weeks,” she said.

“There is more confidence overall and buyers are being more active and are prepared to buy instead of just looking.

“It started happening about mid-July and might imply that people have been more concerned about interest rates than anything else. With rates now on hold or perhaps heading down, there does seem to be a renewed confidence among buyers.”

Ms Grice said prospective buyers who had been biding their time and saving a deposit were now in a position to buy and were doing so.

“It really does seem to me that buyers are feeling more confident to buy; they have confidence in their jobs; they’ve been to the bank about finance; or they have sold their home and are now ready to buy,” she said.

“That confidence is very well placed because all of the indicators and the predictions for Townsville are very strong.”

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