“Solar shades have a simple design – they’re overhead covers that have solar panels, meaning they can provide shade below them while generating electricity from above,” Cr Hill said.
Council is looking for innovative proposals from parties interested in installing, owning and operating the new shaded infrastructure. The project will start with two trial areas at Central Park and 103 Walker Street before potentially expanding to more of the city’s pathways.
“What we’re looking for is proposals that will help shade these public areas at no cost or a low cost to the community,” Cr Hill said.
“Council wants to hear from commercial operators who want to build shading in ways that could also provide income streams to offset the operator’s building and operating costs. For example, this can be done through the generation and sale of solar energy or through advertising.”
Cr Hill said the Solar Shade Project would eventually contribute to bringing more tourism dollars into the local economy.
“Council has received feedback from residents and visitors to the area that is strongly in favour of shaded footpaths. We live in a hot and sunny part of the world, which is why we need to look at making it more comfortable for locals and travellers to walk through our city year round,” she said.
“We’re not looking for just practicality here – in the long term, we want these walkways to look appealing and add to the tropical aesthetic that we have in our city.”
Cr Hill said environmentally friendly infrastructure was just one way Council was evolving for a greener future in Townsville.
“We are already committed to having no single-use plastics at Council events, and we run a wide range of educational programs both in the classroom and at our sustainability learnscapes,” she said.
“Council is committed to becoming more sustainable through undertakings like the Solar Shade Project to work towards a more eco-friendly future for Townsville.”
Tender proposals are open until 22 June 2020.
For more information, head to our Tenders webpage.