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Delivery of Brisbane's water fountains delayed

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There has been millions of dollars budgeted and lots of discussion about bringing fountains back to Brisbane for several years, but to date, most of the plans have been scrapped or put on hold.

Lord mayor Graham Quirk has been talking about bringing fountains back to the CBD since he announced $2.2 million for water features and fountains in the 2015-16 budget.

The money was to fund the restoration of three fountains, including E.E. McCormick Place, Mooney Memorial Plaza and Emma Miller Place, as well as design work for a new river water feature.

Fountains were turned off and removed from the city in the early 2000s because of severe drought.

In the 2016-17 budget, more than $8.5 million was budgeted for fountains and water features over the next four years, with about $2 million in 2016-17, $2.9 million in 2017-18, $1.9 million in 2018-19 and $1.6 million in 2019-20.

In 2016 the council scrapped $5 million worth of the proposed fountains by cutting fountain plans for Dowse Lagoon (Sandgate) and Forest Lake.


In the 2017-18 budget, this figure was revised to about $2.3 million in 2017-18 and $4.2 million in 2018-19 and was to cover the fountain in the river and the return of a fountain to King George Square.

Despite years of discussion, no new fountains have been installed in Brisbane, and council has now admitted the budgeted river water feature that had been discussed since 2015 was now “on hold”.

Field services chairman Peter Matic said the council had undertaken design work for a new river water feature alongside the South Bank cultural forecourt, but it had been put on hold.

“Since this time, council has undertaken extensive design and consultation works for this project, however, all of this work has been put on hold due to changes at South Bank as a result of the Queen’s Wharf development,” he said.

“Early designs for the footbridge announced as part of the Destination Brisbane project indicated it would connect to the cultural forecourt, where the river water feature was to be located.

“The South Bank Corporation expressed concerns about other proposed adjacent locations for the water feature and works have consequently been put on hold.”

The council did deliver on its commitment to restore the three fountains in 2016, but design and construction of the new fountains is a slow process.

In August 2017 the council launched a design competition for the King George Square and the river fountain.

Opposition leader Peter Cumming said it had been two years since Cr Quirk promised the fountains but he hadn’t seen any movement.

“It took him 18 months just to announce a design contest and we haven’t heard a word since,” he said.

Cr Matic said the council would soon make an announcement about the design for the King George Square fountain, which was first announced in 2016.

“Over the past few months, council has been working through an expressions of interest process, with a large field of companies contacting council to put forward proposals to design and construct the water feature,” he said.

A revised budget for the city’s water features and fountains will be released in the 2018-19 budged due to be handed down in June.