Tract Consultants in conjunction with Cox Rayner won a National Design Competition in September 1998, for the $25 million redevelopment of the Cairns Esplanade.
The concept was designed to reflect and provide renewed waterfront recreational diversity for the people of Cairns. It has stimulated revival of the CBD heart and together with sister project Cairns Cityport has realised a unified waterfront vision that has linked the people of Cairns back to the waters edge.
Construction of the lagoon and the esplanade board walk took nearly 3 years and was opened to great fan fair in May 2003 with the second stage of skatepark, volleyball courts and additional parkland opening in 2006.
The Cairns Esplanade redevelopment received the Australian Award for Urban Design Excellence in December 2003 and an International Landscape Award in 2004.
The concept offers diverse experiences for all people and was simultaneously designed as:
- a marine ecopark capable of worldwide recognition for the enjoyment of the community and its visitors;
- a swimming lagoon and park for families, children, and ‘children at heart’;
- a microcosm of Pacific, Far North and local Regional culture and craft;
- an outdoor stage for performances and additional recreational space;
- an educational resource for Cairns’ people and its visitors to interpret the great natural and cultural asset of Cairns and its region.
Cairns Esplanade has reinvigorated Cairns and in many ways is seen as the catalyst for a revival that has since driven the delivery of the Cruise Terminal, Cairns Cityport South and design planning for the Cairns Entertainment Precinct - yet another collaboration for Tract and Cox Rayner.