CHEEKY PEEK: Western Downs residents were treated to a sneak peek of the Botanical Parklands today ahead of this week's official opening.
CHEEKY PEEK: Western Downs residents were treated to a sneak peek of the Botanical Parklands today ahead of this week's official opening. Kate McCormack

Residents get a sneak peek ahead of Parkland opening

WITH a watermelon splash park, a megafauna discovery dig site and almost five hectares of land to explore, the Chinchilla Botanical Parklands is bursting at the seams with activities for everyone to enjoy.

And after decades in the making, it's officially ready to be opened to the public.

Western Downs Regional Council parks and open spaces coordinator Matthew Robertson led a select number of local residents around on a guided tour of the parklands this week.

Members of Windmill Gardens aged care village, Dalby National Seniors group, Waminda disability services as well as Chinchilla State School and Chinchilla Early Learning Centre were treated to a first glimpse at the completed project after work began nearly 12 months ago.

Mr Robertson pointed put a number of particularly important design aspects including the incorporation of the old rail tracks at the front of the parklands.

"This is really remarkable,” Chinchilla man Ray Johnson said.

"I can remember back when drovers and cowboys would drove the cattle from the railway docks out to the Round Waterhole and now look at what the space has become.”

PLANT IT WITH PRIDE

Mayor Paul McVeigh said the parklands project employed a number of apprentices who contributed by laying 14,000 plants under the guidance of Mr Robertson.

"We told them to plant every tree, shrub and flower with pride because we hope that in 10, 20 and 30 years they will come back and tell their children and grandchildren about how they helped create the gardens that stand here today,” Cr McVeigh said.

Mr Robertson said the planting wasn't finished yet, with another 10,000 plants expected to be added to the parklands in the next decade.

"We want this space to become a major draw card for tour groups who may have previously driven straight past Chinchilla,” he said.

The Chinchilla Botanic Parklands will eventually be home to more than 800 species of plants, with most endemic to the Western Downs.

"That's the whole idea of this project, to create a place for the community and people travelling through to come, enjoy themselves and stay a while,” Mr Robertson said.

Jenny and David Bunting, who have lived in Chinchilla for 48 years, were glad to see the space put to good use.

"It's just great to see what was previously a wasteland turned into something magnificent,” Mrs Bunting said.

"So much thought has gone into making this space useful and enjoyable for everyone in the community,

"It ticks all the boxes.”

The WDRC will hold the official opening tomorrow morning (Tuesday, May 28) from 10.30am, as well as a community fun day on Saturday, June 1 from 9am to 3pm with Ranger Stacey and Agro heading up the family-friendly entertainment.

Take a look at the photo gallery bellow to see more from this mornings VIP walk through: