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How fortunate are we in our little Northside pocket?

Surrounded by Mountains to Mangroves area and living so close to three of Brisbane's important nature conserves makes our local area worth protecting.

With Downfall Creek Bushland Centre (Raven Street Reserve), Chermside Hills and Bunyaville State forest on our doorstep we truly live in a wonderfully unique area.

Bunyaville Conservation Park

Bunyaville Conservation Park is bordered by Everton Hills, Albany Creek and Bridgeman Downs. Access to the area is via Old Northern Road and is open 7.30am-5pm daily.

There are great picnic areas with wheelchair accessible toilets, BBQs, drinking water, car parking and picnic tables for a perfect day out. (There are no rubbish bins so please remove any rubbish you might have).

There are plenty of walking tracks also. Guided tours and talks can be arranged through the Environmental Education Centre on (07)3353 4356 or via their website and there are programs designed to suit school aged children.

Raven Street Reserve

Downfall Creek Bushland Centre is located within the Chermside Hills Reserve at 815 Rode Road and is opened every day. The Education Centre opened Monday-Thursday 9am-4pm. There are numerous children's activities held throughout the year along with guided walks and events for all. For more information check their website (Downfall Creek Bushland Centre) or Contact (07)3403 8888.

There are picnic areas, a car park, walking tracks, drinking water, wheelchair access, playground, BBQs, public toilets and a 1/2 court basketball. There also is a sensory trail which is wheelchair accessible with a continuous handrail, braille, interpretive signage and raised text.

The centre also has a meeting room with kitchen facilities available for hire for community-based organisations, government and corporate groups are also welcome.

Chermside Hills Reserve

Chermside Hills Reserve has car parking available on Hamilton Road at Milne Hill Reserve near the fauna bridge and is open 24 hours daily with only the car parking being locked off after 6pm.

This area has many walking tracks and it's advisable to take plenty of drinking water. The views within this area are breathtaking and if you're walking when there is low light it is also advisable to take a torch.

It's also always a good idea to bring water, sunscreen, protection from the sun and insect repellent.

All of these areas are home to wallabies, koalas, echidnas, lorikeets, possums, kookaburras, and a myriad of birdlife and reptiles.

Do you get wildlife where you live?

We'd love to know what wildlife you have visiting you.

Written by guest blogger: Robyn Baker

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The 60-year evolution of Brisbane’s first major shopping centre

To many it may be just another shopping centre, but to some Westfield Chermside represents a place where treasured memories were born and the start of Brisbane's modernisation from a country town to a major city.

Next Tuesday, the centre will celebrate its 60th anniversary and despite a regular turnover of retailers and constant expansions, its history has been kept alive by long-serving staff, local residents and a sole retailer.

On May 30, 1957 the 28-acre Allan & Stark Chermside Drive In opened as the first drive-in shopping centre in the southern hemisphere, with 26 stores, 700 car parking spaces and 15,000 people in attendance.

One of the many faces in the crowd was Sue-Ellen Duby. At the time, she was an 11-month-old baby; today, she has 15 years of experience under her belt working on the concierge desk at the shopping centre.

While she has very little memory of the day, Ms Duby has a picture of her father holding her above the thousands of onlookers and can remember feeling a sense of security.

Ms Duby had a chance meeting with a woman at the centre last year who was also at opening day and even won a competition. The stranger said a helicopter dropped ping-pong balls on the crowd and she had caught the one which won her a car.

"She told me that she felt like the Queen when she was in the Ford, because not everyone had a car in those days," Ms Duby said.

"It was a big deal to come to the centre in those days, people would get dressed up and make it a big day out. It's always been a meeting place for families and friends."

A matter of weeks after the opening of the Allan & Stark Chermside Drive In, John Bean made the trip from the southside with his parents and baby brother to see what all of the fuss was about.

Mr Bean was just six years old at the time and came away from the centre with what he described as "the world's best gift" - a red pedal car.

Thanks to his father's love of photography, Mr Bean has footage from the family outing and said he loved spending time with his Dad and watching his films.

He believed the opening of the centre gave the northside the edge over the southside in the ongoing rivalry and also signified the start of Brisbane's modernisation from a country town to a major city.

One of the most significant changes at Westfield Chermside in Mr Bean's opinion, has been what he described as "a cultural shift" in Queenslanders' shopping habits.

Mr Bean said the busiest times at the centre used to be on Saturday afternoon and Sunday, which he described as "rest days" in line with Christian beliefs.

However, he believed due to people's long working hours today, which include weekends, they fit in shopping trips wherever they can, translating to a seven-day shopping cycle at Westfield Chermside.

Comparing his experiences of the centre 60 years ago to today, Mr Bean said the current version was much more spacious and easier to navigate for its size. He said the 1957 centre was packed with people, making it difficult to move around and find your way.

Out of the hundreds of retailers who have come and gone during the centre's six decades, one original store remains - Fulchers Shoes.

It was started by Gordon Fulcher, then his son Trevor joined the business in 1970, before current owner Troy Fulcher, Gordon's grandson, came on board in 1991.

"Because we have been around for so long, we have a very loyal client base, with customers coming in saying they used to get their school shoes from us when they were young," he said.

"I personally select the products, whereas chain stores buy generic stock and distribute it across their franchises. This also allows me to adapt to suit my customers' needs quicker."

Despite the cosmetic changes at the store, it remains a small family business with Gordon's values at its very heart.

"Grandad said you have to sell yourself first and your product second," Troy said.

"And be on the shop floor all of the time to know what your customers' needs are.

"To respond to the greater competition over the years, we continue to focus on customer service and filling a niche with our specialised products."

Today, Westfield Chermside is nearing completion of stage six upgrades.

Centre manager Garth Haslam said the stages of development over the years were a reflection of the community's needs and trends.

"We're very lucky to still have all of the history, right back to the days when the centre first opened," he said.

"You just start understanding how it has evolved in the last 60 years.

"It's so nice that we have people connected to the building and who have been here as the building evolves, such as Sue-Ellen and Troy."

Once the latest developments were completed, which was expected to be next month, Westfield Chermside will boast over 500 shops, more than 7000 carparking spaces and stretch across more than 38 acres. The new expansion will feature "a vibrant dining and entertainment precinct" according to the centre manager.

"As Brisbane continues to evolve, we will continue to react to the demands of our customers," he said.

 

Originally Published: http://www.brisbanetimes.com.au/

 

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Chermside boom puts squeeze on residents

Chermside boom puts squeeze on residents

CHERMSIDE Shopping Centre’s magnetic attraction, combined with the arrival nearby of more than a dozen apartment blocks and still more to come, has been a boon for local businesses — but it’s put the squeeze on locals.

The shopping centre, which has paid parking and houses a major bus hub, sees commuters as well as local workers choke the streets on weekdays to avoid paying fees.

The parking issues is the only downside to an otherwise thriving suburb where the median house price increased by $45,000 to $590,000 in 2016 while apartment prices dipped $5,000 to $435,000, according to a local real estate agent.

Chermside, with two popular large parks, Marchant and 7th Brigade, a newly upgraded public library and an Aquatic Park, was a suburb family friendly place to live.

“The bus hub is a great asset but … you don’t have independent parking and a lot of people used to park at Chermside until they put in timed parking and now they have to find street parking if they want to catch a bus,”

Chermside boom puts squeeze on residents
Vacant land at Chermside ready to be developed.

The apartment boom may not have been great for parking but it’s been most welcomed by Thai restaurant Tosakan co-owner Thanapon Vutthavanich.

The Thai eatery has been open for seven years and is situated is on the bottom floor of one the first major apartment blocks to open in Kittyhawk Dve.

It also sits within 30 metres of the east side pedestrian entrance to Chermside Shopping Centre which has at least two food courts open every trading day.

“We were the first shop in this building and around here, and the first three years were very tough, and then in the fourth year it started to get better,” he said.

“Now with more population, not like seven years ago, we have more business and our customers are aged around 50-years-old ... and we are different to the food court because we are a restaurant.”

Across the road from Tosakan is the Kedron-Wavell RSL which has been on the same site for almost five decades.

Marketing manager Vjorn Bradow said the RSL has yet to see its membership grow in line with the influx of new residents but they have become entwined in the parking chaos.

“It’s absolutely more difficult for parking and it has affected us and we now have someone manning the car park every morning,” she said.

Chermside boom puts squeeze on residents
Thai restaurant Tosakan co-owner Thanapon Vutthavanich outside his restaurant in Chermside.

“The area is definitely growing and we will certainly prosper down the track but at this stage it isn’t our clientele, so to speak.”

Chermside, which is 3.4sq kilometres, is not an overly big suburb and, even though there are another 400 apartments due to open over the next 12 months, there are still plenty of houses at affordable prices.

Houses within development zones are attracting inflated prices because of land hungry developers but outside of that zone you can buy a three bedroom abode for under $550,000.

“The median house price could be falsely inflated because you need to take out the residential houses sold from houses within development areas,” he said.

“We are going to get to the phase where housing affordability will get too high and people will regress and go back into the unit buying.”

Step a couple of hundred metres away from Chermside Shopping Centre along Gympie Rd, and you’ll find Amici Deli among a strip of shops, including a TAB and bakery, which offers free parking.

Chermside boom puts squeeze on residents
Amici Deli owner Josie Bonomo.

Owner Josie Bonomo said she focuses on attracting and retaining customers by offering quality service and genuine Italian foods and ingredients for sale.

“The more apartments the more business, but we do have customers from local offices and shops, the motel across the road and even from the hospital,” she said.

“We try to be something different from the supermarkets and we concentrate on a lot of specialised foods, sauces and pasta from Italy.

“Our bonus is free parking and there it’s always easy for people to park.”

 

Originally published Courier Mail.

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New Chermside Library and North Regional Business Centre

New Chermside Library and North Regional Business Centre

Construction of the new Chermside Library, North Regional Business Centre and Marchant Ward Office redevelopment is now complete and will the building was officially opened on Saturday 18 March 2017.

The redevelopment of the existing Chermside Library was in 2014, when an development application was lodged for a new Library and Business Centre, located 375 Hamilton Road, Chermside.

New Chermside Library and North Regional Business Centre

Formally, the application was for development permits for Subdivision (1 into 4 lots) and access easements and Material Change of Use for Community Use, Food, Drink Outlet, Office and adjacent to a Local Heritage Place.

New Chermside Library and North Regional Business Centre

Designed by Cottee Parker, the proposal seeks a construction of a 3 storey building on the site, at the corner of Kittyhawk Drive and Hamilton Road. The building will accommodate the new Chermside Council Library at ground level, and the new BCC North Regional Business Centre in the 2 levels of office space.

The new precinct offers a redeveloped library, a new business centre and the Marchant Ward Office in one convenient location for the northside community.

The upgraded library is larger and can accommodate three meeting rooms, quiet areas for study and reading, news lounges, quiet rooms and booths, an exciting new children’s library, a Maker Space and a dedicated technology facility for digital learning and literacy. The library features the latest in Radio Frequency Identification technology to enable more convenient customer self-service. Library customers can access public computers and free Wi-Fi throughout the new facility, or enjoy a coffee or bite to eat at Café 641.5 while reading a good book or browsing the library collection.

Chermside Council Library (Ground Level)
– 2,970sqm for Library (Community Use)
– 30sqm for Café (Food/Drink outlet)
– Quiet Rooms
– Reading Lounges
– Children Area
– Self Serving lending

BCC North Regional Business Centre (2 Levels)
– 3,350sqm for Office
– Licencing and Permits
– Animal Registration
– Marchant Ward Office

New Chermside Library and North Regional Business Centre

 

Subdivision
The subdivision will provide for 4 separate lots over 2 Stages, to allow for the access, library/ office building and future residential development.
Stage 1
Lot 1 – 5,371sqm (Proposed office and library building)
Lot 2 – 69.72ha – Balance allotment
Lot 3 – 805sqm – Existing access driveway
Easements A – C (Vehicle Access)

Stage 2
Lot 4 – 3030sqm – Future residential development
Lot 5 – 69.42sqm – Balance allotment

Car Parking
Two (2) levels of basement car parking provides for a total of 221 car park spaces and 61 bicycle spaces, as listed:

Basement level 1
– 106 spaces (including 3 PWD spaces)
– 47 bicycle spaces / storage
– Lockers, shower and change room facilities

Basement level 2
– 115 car parking spaces

Ground
– 14 visitor bicycle spaces / storage

 

New Chermside Library and North Regional Business Centre

Landscaping
Four (4) distinct landscape zones have been integrated into the redevelopment
– the pedestrian entry plaza (between the library and ground level car parking
– the library forecourt
– the building foyer entry
– the streetscape

Feature planting to the library entry, retention of existing trees, higher quality pavement and higher density planting treatment.

New Chermside Library and North Regional Business Centre

The building will have a total Gross Floor Area (GFA) of 6,350sqm on a site area of 5,271sqm, that has a building site cover of 3,328sqm (63%) of the overall 70.33ha site area.

The site is located in the Sport and Recreation Zone (Metropolitan Precinct) and the Community Use and Sports Precinct (NPP-004) of the Chermside Centre Neighbourhood Plan. The proposed development involved the demolition of the exiting single storey Chermside Library and part of the existing car park fronting Hamilton Road. The Chermside Pool and 73 of the parking spaces fronting Hamilton Road were retained.

Timeline
– Sunday 15 March 2017 (Library’s last day at 960 Gympie Road)
– Monday 6-Tuesday 14 March 2017 (Library closed)
– Wednesday 15 March 2017 (New library opens at 375 Hamilton Road)
– Thursday 16 March 2017 – 4.45pm (Marchant Ward Office closes at 960 Gympie Road)
– Friday 17 March 2017 – 4.45pm (North Regional Business Centre closes at 960 Gympie Road)
– Saturday 18 March 2017 (Official opening of the new library, business centre and ward office)
– Monday 20 March 2017 (North Regional Business Centre opens for business at 375 Hamilton Road)
– Wednesday 22 March 2017 (Marchant Ward Office opens for business at 375 Hamilton Road