Community & Business

7 June, 2024

JCU to engage with Millaa Millaa on new plan

JAMES Cook University staff and students are set to be a big part of Millaa Millaa’s future and want to engage with the community as the set about developing a master plan for the town.


The head of JCU’s Tropical Urbanism and Design Laboratory (TUDLab), Associate Professor Lisa Law, said Millaa Millaa had been doing it tough, with torrential rain and cyclones in the recent wet season cutting off major highways, and hampering tourism to the region.

“Thanks to a grant from the Tablelands Regional Council, the Millaa Millaa Progress Association has contracted JCU to help produce a master plan for the town,” she said.

“We will be asking the community questions about what they want their town to be and then designing the master plan around what we are told.” 

Master planning steering committee chair John Russell said the initiative was a fundamental step in understanding, capturing, and advancing community desires and needs. 

“One such idea is a project which has been circulating in Millaa Millaa for decades – the town to Millaa Millaa Falls Walk along the old rail track and through pristine rainforest,” he said.

“This is a chance for the project to be included in the plan.

“Ever since the successful Malanda master plan in 2019, Millaa Millaa has been waiting to have our turn. 

“Now, thanks to a generous grant from the TRC, we have contracted JCU and a team of professionals, to undertake community consultations and to design the master plan in accordance with the community’s vision.

“Millaa Millaa has been doing it tough, with torrential rain and cyclones cutting off major highways, and curtailing tourism to the region. 

“The town is fighting back, with the master planning community engagement sessions designed to capture ideas about how we can make improvements while maintaining the character and charm of Millaa Millaa.

“To this end, the master plan should establish a vision and objectives and consider connectivity between the town and iconic areas of interest such as the waterfalls, Mungalli, and McHugh’s lookout.”

Mr Russell urged locals to come forward and be part of the plan’s development.

“The community engagement sessions will allow people in the community as well as those with an interest in Millaa Millaa, to have their voices and ideas heard,” he said.

“Together, let us shape the future of Millaa Millaa through collaboration and community effort.”

JCU will hold community engagement sessions on Monday 17 June at the RSL Hall, Oak Street, Millaa Millaa. The sessions will be held from 10.30am-12 noon, from 1.30pm-3pm, and from 5.30pm-7pm.

Dr Law said unlike architecture, which focused on the design of individual buildings, urban design looked at the larger scale of groups of buildings, streets, public spaces, neighbourhoods, districts and entire towns and cities.

“Urban design draws on different disciplines to make connections between people and place, and between nature and things built by humans, to craft a strategic vision for an area,” she said.

“The goal of urban design is to make urban areas functional, equitable, attractive and economically viable.

“The final plan will include suggestions for placemaking, streetscape and landscape improvements, infrastructure needs, environmental and community sustainability, accessibility, as well as considering cultural heritage and the tourist experience.”


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