Townsville in North Queensland is set for two stunning new tourist attractions, two ‘solar trees’.
‘Solar trees’ are highly effective beautification projects because of their naturally sublime multi-functionality. Not only is a solar tree a technological rendering of nature but a promotion of solar technology and an architectural and beneficial complement to any locality.
Of course, essentially, a ‘solar tree’ is a tautology, for all trees are solar-powered. But it seems unnecessary to nullify the term considering solar power is our planet’s first principle energy in all regards.
The two ‘solar trees’, to be installed at the North Queensland Stadium precinct, will range from eight-to-12 metres tall and stand along Ross Creek between North Queensland Stadium and Townsville city centre. One of the two trees is a ‘rain tree’ providing an interactive water feature.
The placement of the solar trees is crucial, Central Park links the new stadium precinct to the CBD, meaning that the visually beautiful and enticing solar trees will attract and slake the thirsts of locals and tourists headed in each direction.
Queensland (QLD) Treasurer Cameron Dick today announced $6.5 million in state funding for the beautification project, and Townsville City Council is throwing in an additional $1.5 million.
Townsville Mayor Jenny Hill believes these state funds are a direct injection into the local economy and will provide a huge boost to the region’s economic recovery. Moreover, Hill notes that the attraction itself is perfectly suited. “This is a completely unique attraction that is perfect for our region thanks to using solar power to run,” said Hill. “It will encourage those visiting the stadium to make the walk to the CBD just to experience such a beautiful visual show.”
Tree of Life – Townsville’s Economic Recovery from Covid-19
“The solar trees installation is set to stand as another unique tourism attraction for the city and region, and will create around 120 direct and indirect jobs during construction,” said Dick, who views the trees as a sustainable way to maximise the city’s new stadium where it wishes to attract more world-class sporting events and performances.
By placing the solar trees in Central Park attendees at stadium events will be drawn down the path toward the CBD, encouraged to enjoy local restaurants and bars that have been suffering with particular acuity due to the pandemic lockdown.
Attracting tourism is at the heart of QLD’s and particularly Townsville’s plan of economic recovery post-Covid-19. “Growing jobs in the region means growing our tourist offerings,” said Member for Townsville Scott Stewart, “and this project ticks both boxes.”
Minister for State Development, Tourism and Innovation Kate Jones said the investment aligns with the Townsville North Queensland Destination Tourism Plan’s priorities. “We know how important tourism is to north Queensland,” stressed Jones, “especially as we emerge from the impacts of COVID-19.”
Solar as part of the ‘urban furniture’
‘Solar trees’ have been a sure-fire way to beautify an urban space since the late 1990s, but as solar technology evolves it is being adapted and remodelled into any number of beautiful, functional and sustainable urban features.
Take, for instance, the Cool Tree Lite, similar to a traditional ‘solar tree’ but providing more of a refuge, a shaded sitting area. The Cool Tree Lite, developed by a consortium of four Japanese companies, is made from wood and topped by solar panels and battery to make the system completely off-grid and self-sufficient.
Moreover, similar to the ‘rain tree’ the Cool Tree Lite sprays water vapour from the roof to cool its urban tree-dwelling inhabitants: hipsters, suits, lunchers, day-trippers, tourists.
More locally, Adelaide-based Specialised Solutions has introduced solar-powered benches, which can offer shade, lighting, Wi-Fi, and charging ports to those in need.