30 October 2015

Statement from the Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society (Inc.) on the Boggo Road plans

(I post this here as a member of the management committee of the Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society.)

We note that Calile Malouf Investments have recently lodged the Development Application for their Boggo Road Gaol plans for assessment by the Brisbane City Council and the Queensland Department of Environment and Heritage Protection. This process could take a number of months.
We are pleased that the planning for the heritage pfrison is moving forward. We have long advocated that it should be transformed into a dynamic cultural hub with increased community access, and are broadly supportive of the current approach.

Our main concern is that there needs to be sufficient emphasis on the heritage and arts components. While we welcome the inclusion of a number of quality hospitality areas within the prison grounds, we hope that Boggo Road is viewed primarily as a heritage and arts venue with great dining options, and not a dining venue with a heritage backdrop. We will now be working to ensure the right balance is struck.

We are pleased that provision has been made for museums, tours and other heritage activities, and expect to see different organisations once again working side by side in offering a wide range of visitor services. The Boggo Road Gaol Historical Society is aiming to have a major role in providing tours and services, continuing an onsite tradition going back to 1994. We are also currently working with other organisations as part of the Boggo Arts & Heritage Alliance to finalise plans for innovative and unique ways of presenting the history of Boggo Road.

There are significant structural changes planned for Boggo and we hope to see some well-informed debate around this subject. We would prefer that structural changes were minimal, but without any commitment from successive state governments to pay to maintain Boggo Road, some compromise is needed to fund the revitalisation of the site and keep it open.

For those who are opposing the current plans, we anticipate the presentation of their alternative plan for funding the maintenance of Boggo Road through the coming decades.

We are quite happy with the level of consultation we have had with the companies involved so far, and right now we are still discussing the details of the Development Application with hundreds of members of the historical society. The plans are very detailed and there are a range of opinions on them, but we will be encouraging our members and also the public to arm themselves with the facts, have a rational discussion, make up their own minds, and have their say to the government departments currently assessing the plans for this public asset.

The Development Application can be read here.

Stephen M Gage (President, BRGHS)
Mick Kindness (Vice-president)
Chris Dawson (Secretary)

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