Council unveils Esplanade Dining Precinct concept

Traffic will remain one-way on the Cairns Esplanade between Shields St and Aplin Street under a new concept design for Cairns Regional Council's Dining Precinct.

The vision will go before Councillors for endorsement at tomorrow’s general meeting.

Design features include extended awnings to provide weather protection, additional seating, wider footpaths and tropical landscaping.

“The design will allow the Esplanade roadway to remain open for one-way vehicle traffic and also provide the opportunity for temporary closure of the road to create a public event space when needed,” the report to Councillors says.

“The dining area will be expanded to provide space for additional dining and seating, improve views to the parklands and increase pedestrian connections.

“The design will link into Shields Street and complete the interface with the earlier Shields Street Heart project.”

Even if it’s endorsed, the community will get to have a final say, with Council seeking further feedback.

Almost 6,000 residents have already influenced the design through a consultation process two years ago.

In its 2019/20 budget, Cairns Regional Council committed $3 million for the Esplanade Dining Precinct.

The bulk of the spend – $13.5 million - has been set aside for the construction phase next financial year, which will also include stage 3 of the Shields Street project.

Council has been criticised for the length of time it's taken to get the project off the ground.

Crystalbrook Collection had hoped it would be operational in time for the opening of Flynn, its latest hotel offering, located on the Esplanade.

Flynn opens next month. 

The hotel group had also wanted the Esplanade to be closed to traffic at key times, particularly at night.