The redevelopment of Adelaide’s Riverbank precinct aims to put the River Torrens at the heart of the city and create a vibrant city park to rival other Australian capital cities.

The South Australian government has begun consultations on what should be done in four integral areas including Bonython Park, the old Royal Adelaide Hospital (RAH) site, the core entertainment area, and the biomedical precinct in order to link the CBD and North Adelaide to attract more activity and investment.

Premier Jay Weatherill is confident of the potential of Adelaide’s Riverbank precinct, saying it “will be better than anything other major Australian cities have to offer,” offering Sydney’s Darling Harbour and Melbourne’s Docklands as comparisons.

The precinct will include entertainment, retail, arts and sport facilities with work ranging from redevelopment of the Festival Centre to a $40 million footbridge across the Torrens, upgrades to the Adelaide Casino, and the redeveloped Adelaide Oval.

Weatherill admits Adelaide has never fully used the river to its advantage but says the new plan will create a new identity for the city with a busy park in the middle of Adelaide.

“The River Torrens winding through the heart of Adelaide is one of our city’s best assets,” he says.

Adelaide Footbridge Construction

Adelaide Footbridge Construction

Weatherill is inviting South Australians to voice their opinions on how to best revamp the area. Deputy Premier and Planning Minister John Rau says the implementation plan for the Riverbank precinct will be displayed at the Adelaide Convention Centre on June 30.

Developers hope to finalise a blueprint for the area by August.

“This grand plan provides an opportunity to elevate our city’s Riverbank to a major destinationof the quality of the Barossa Valley, Kangaroo Island and the Flinders Ranges,” says Weatherill.

Unveiled June 24, the Greater Riverbank Implementation Plan will:

  • Define the Riverbank’s role in the Government’s Vibrant City commitment
  • Create a framework for design work for the old RAH site
  • Outline strategies to maximise use of the existing cultural precinct
  • Provide opportunities to benefit the medical precinct around the new RAH
  • Encourage investment in the Festival Plaza around the new footbridge and Convention Centre upgrade
  • Initiate debate on possible uses for the old Adelaide Gaol, police barracks and the Bonython park site

Stretching from Bowden to Gilberton, the Riverbank precinct will encompass the area from the city’s east at the old Royal Adelaide site to the new Royal Adelaide Hospital in the city’s west.

Several pathways through the park will draw residents and visitors from all sides of the city.

“Planned or committed investment in the Greater Riverbank Precinct already surpasses $4.5 billion, which translates to tens of thousands of construction jobs and thousands of ongoing jobs for South Australians,” says Housing and Urban Development Minister Tom Koutsantonis.

Koutsantonis says a 20-year investment plan for the area outlines a bright future for employment in the area.

adelaide riverbank proposed-development

Proposed Development

“Not only can we create a great park that befits a vibrant city, but we can also generate jobs and ongoing economic activity that will benefit all South Australians,” he says.

He hopes that a clear vision for the area will enable the precinct to build on current investment in the Adelaide Oval, Convention Centre, and Footbridge as well as the updated railway station.

South Australians have eagerly been awaiting word on the future of the old Royal Adelaide Hospital site which will be announced soon, along with proposed development for the site set out in the new Riverbank precinct plan.

Tim Horton, former Integrated Design Commissioner thinks reconnecting people with the River Torrens is a step in the right direction for Adelaide, saying the former rail yards robbed people of access to the river for too long.

“The master plan is very much about connecting the city back with the river,” he says.

Horton says a plan for the entire river region is necessary and believes if the project is carried out properly,“it should drive residential growth plans over time.”