Planning together to preserve our natural, rural and urban landscapes

The Toowoomba Region features many diverse scenes that are loved by the community, from rich natural landscapes to iconic streets and buildings. These places contribute to our character and identity and make our Region a place where we want to work, live, play – and stay, for many years to come.

Identifying the landscapes we all love will help ensure they are protected and enhanced into the future.

The Love your local landscapes project is an important part of Council’s Toowoomba Region Futures program, which will shape a community vision for growth and development in our Region for the next 30 years.

Over the past six months, Council asked residents to tell us about the regional landscapes they love. This community input has contributed to two important planning studies for the Region, The Regional Landscapes and Urban Character Study and Scenic Amenity Study.

Findings from the studies will inform future decisions related to the development of the new planning scheme.

What you told us

Phase 1 community feedback

From November 2020 to January 2021, we identified scenic places valued and enjoyed by the community through a photography competition, survey and interactive mapping tool. We received 258 entries showing a wide range of scenic natural, rural and urban landscapes across the Toowoomba Region, with the winners announced in February 2021. View the winning entries.

Phase 2 community feedback

To help us understand the types of landscapes the community finds the most visually appealing, we asked you to complete a Scenic Preference Survey in February and March 2021. We had 126 people complete the survey, which involved scoring 70 landscape images based on scenic preference and visual appeal. The majority of respondents were from the Toowoomba Region, with a small number from adjoining local government areas such as Brisbane, demonstrating the broader value of the Toowoomba Region's landscapes.

The survey revealed the landscapes favoured by the community include:

  • distinctive sandstone boulders and escarpments
  • waterways (with water present)
  • dams (both small rural dams and large reservoirs)
  • native vegetation beside creeks and rivers
  • flat croplands with crops ready to harvest
  • distinctive mountains and other topographic features including basaltic peaks
  • elevated bushland and forested ridges
  • undulating rural landscapes.

The survey also revealed elements least favoured by the community, such as mine sites.

How we used your feedback

Alongside other technical inputs and analysis, findings from community feedback have been used to develop The Regional Landscapes and Urban Character Study and Scenic Amenity Study. This work presents a fully integrated view of our landscape, incorporating all the features and attributes that contribute to the distinctive character of the Toowoomba Region. The combined study report and findings can be viewed on this page and are summarised below.

Part A Background: describes an overview of the region and the features that contribute to its landscape, urban and scenic values.

Part B The Landscape and Urban Character Study: identifies and describes the variations in landscape character across the Region, from the forested Toowoomba escarpment to our distinctive rural towns, many with unique character buildings, and our historic and vibrant Toowoomba City.

Part B1 Landscape Character Assessment: identifies and defines the 13 different regional landscape character types and sub-types and their key features, qualities and sensitivities, from alluvial floodplains to forested peaks and ridgelines.

Part B2 Urban Character Assessment: identifies and describes the urban character, including essential elements, features, qualities and sensitivities of key settlements in our Region, including Toowoomba city, regional towns and smaller towns. This section also outlines considerations of development and other pressures that may influence their character in the future and may require consideration through amendments to local planning and policy

Part C Scenic Amenity Study: identifies and maps the scenic amenity value of the Toowoomba Region and considers how to protect and manage these values. This study:

  • maps and identifies existing scenic routes and lookouts to understand the most and least visible landscapes
  • outlines the landscapes most preferred by residents and visitors
  • maps scenic amenity to understand how scenic preference value and visibility combine to determine scenic values across the Region
  • identifies important views and vistas, and areas of high scenic amenity value, requiring protection.

Areas identified as having the highest scenic amenity values (9-10) in the region include:

  • parts of rivers and creeks, including the Condamine River, Hodgson Creek, Kings Creek, Oakey Creek, Myall Creek and other waterways
  • dams/reservoirs, in particular large water supply dams such as Lake Cooby, Lake Perseverance and Lake Cressbrook
  • other dams and instances of water within the landscape, such as rural farm dams and naturally occurring lagoons
  • parts of vegetated and elevated peaks, ridges, plateaus and hills including key topographic features such as the Great Dividing Range, the Cooyar Range, the Blackbutt Range, the eastern escarpment, Mount Tabletop, Mount Peel, the Goombungee Hills, Mount Kingsthorpe, the Sugarloaf Mountain, Mount Storey, Gowrie Mountain, Gowrie Hill, Captains Mountain, Commodore Peak (including West Ridge and South Ridge), Mount Domville, Mount Emlyn, Mount Basalt, Pine Hill and Bloodwood Hill.

Part D Outcomes: presents preliminary considerations developed through the studies, with a focus on the protection and management of landscape character, urban character and scenic amenity value across the Toowoomba Region. The preliminary recommendations cover a range of themes, including:

  • natural environment, such as landscape character and scenic amenity
  • built environment and urban form
  • built heritage
  • streetscape character
  • infrastructure
  • natural resources
  • agriculture and farming
  • tourism and access.

Council now invites you to view the findings and provide further feedback by taking part in the survey below.

Next steps

The study findings, together with your feedback and other studies being undertaken as part of the Toowoomba Region Futures program, will help Council draft policy proposals for a new Toowoomba Region Planning Scheme.

You will have further opportunity to have a say on the draft policy proposals in mid-2022.

This consultation has concluded

Photo Competition Winning Entries

Jessica Stannard, Wyreema 2021 (First Prize, Landscape Category)

Judges’ comments: We love the mood that this image evokes. It captures and celebrates the importance of agriculture to the character and livelihood of the Toowoomba region. The approaching rain clouds hint at welcome downpour to come.

Bradley Woodcock, Felton 2018 (Runner Up, Landscape Category)

Judges’ comments: The composition of this image is very strong. It showcases the rich, fertile black soils of the region and the serene beauty of our region’s landscapes, once the hard day’s work is done.

Renee Edge, Gillies' Farm Pechey 2020 (Highly Commended, Landscape Category)

Judges’ comments: This image captures a typical rural scene, however the golden light, pastel sky and composition enhance our appreciation of the natural beauty of Toowoomba’s pastoral landscape.

Cameron Baxter, Cutella 2020 (Highly Commended, Landscape Category)

Judges’ comments: The striking use of lighting, framing and strong compositional elements creates a dramatic image out of what could be seen as a typical, everyday agricultural scene.

Chris Hicks, Cambooya 2021 (Highly Commended, Landscape Category)

Judges’ comments: This unique composition and capture of the sun setting across this field of sunflowers shows a creative take on a classic subject.

Douglas Skinner, The Bull and Barley Inn 2020 (First Prize, Urban Character/Built Heritage Category)

Judges’ comments: This image stood out for its unique representation of an iconic, historical building. It shows how our important old buildings can be refurbished and given a new lease of life, whilst also capturing the beauty of our uninterrupted night skies.

Inge Gajczak, Brookstead Silos 2018 (Runner Up (Urban Character/Built Heritage Category)

Judges’ comments: Silos act as local landmarks across the region. We particularly love the character and texture captured in this image, which demonstrate our agricultural history and the ongoing importance of cereal crops to our economy.

Dylan Robins, Toowoomba Railway Station 2020 (Highly Commended, Urban Character/Built Heritage Category)

Judges’ comments: Rail was a key catalyst in the development of the Toowoomba region. This photograph nicely captures the heritage-listed Toowoomba railway station, which is a local landmark. The creative use of sepia tones enhances the vintage character of this image.