Pimpama is a suburb in the northern part of the City of Gold Coast. It is located on the Pacific Motorway 30 kilometres (19 mi) north of Surfers Paradise. The township of Pimpama is the last remaining rural town on the Pacific Motorway between Brisbane and the Gold Coast. It has a large area of undeveloped land. With the urban development of the region, Pimpama’s population has had rapid growth, increasing by 92%
The Pimpama River marks the northern boundary of the suburb, which flows from the Darlington Range at Kingsholme down to Moreton Bay. Hotham Creek also flows through the suburb and meets with Pimpama River to the north-east of the suburb.
For the twenty years prior to 2010 most of the population of Pimpama was concentrated in the Canowindra estate, located in the north of the suburb. This estate, first developed in the 1980s is often referred to as a suburb itself. Hawthorne Woods, an estate built since 2000 across the motorway from the township also contained a large portion of the population. At this time the hamlet of Pimpama consisted of a general store surrounded by a handful of homes. Some employment was offered by a large sawmill and hardware business, and by the ambulance training station serving the Pacific Motorway. The owners of the general store, Jenny Houston and her son Robert, had enlarged the property to include a bar and a small restaurant.
Extensive and intensive urban development came to Pimpama in the first decade of the 21st century, as a result of planning that had started ten years earlier.
In 1995 the City of Gold Coast Council (GCCC) and the Queensland Government collaborated in staging “The Coomera Charrette Planning Study”. By that year, there was general agreement between the Commonwealth Government, the Queensland Government, and the GCCC that in the northern part of the territory administered by the GCCC a new urban area should be created, involving a new city centre based at Coomera, in what had previously been mainly rural land.
This proposal bore similarities to the earlier Robina project in the south, and a justification was that in large parts of the Pimpama/Coomera area there had been rural subdivisions in the 1970s that had created wide many 2-5 hectare parcels, thought to be useless for anything except further subdivision into much smaller lots.
The innovative Charrette method, never before used in Queensland, assembled everyone who at that time had an interest in the development of the area. Participants included local residents and landowners; clubs and associations; land developers; state and federal officials representing road and railway authorities; GCCC personnel involved in planning, sewerage, water, traffic and so on, and many others. The intention was that this diverse group would be put into a ‘pressure cooker’ environment for a week, charged with coming up with overall concept plans for further consideration by the various authorities. It was purely a study, with no executive power.
The Charrette zone straddled the Pacific Highway, with its northern boundary on Hotham Creek and southern boundary on the Coomera river. The total area was over 5,000 hectares, comprising at the time 1207 separate rateable properties in 603 different ownerships. The GCCC Local Area Plans that flowed eventually from the Charrette – pretty closely following its recommendations – comprised one of the largest re-zonings in south-east Queensland, intended to house 66,000 people.
It was held during the week of 28 June to 3 July 1995. The Charrette leader was Professor Paul Murrain, a highly regarded English urban planning consultant who was imported for the occasion and proved an inspirational speaker.
The Charrette process sent a signal to anyone who was paying attention that in due course there would indeed be large-scale rezoning in the Pimpama district. Land developers (the word speculator is also applicable) moved in and a great many properties changed hands before any official rezoning took place, in many cases leading to the consolidation of large parcels. One of the leading developers to emerge in Pimpama was Mirvac Ltd., who acquired a very large tract running along the northern side of Yawalpah Road practically for its entire length (at the time) including the Gainsborough Greens golf course and several farms.
Significant construction works moved ahead in and around Coomera (which had sewerage connections to the existing Coombabah facility) but similar activity in Pimpama had to await environmental studies associated with the construction of the Pimpama Waste Water Treatment Plant, which was not begun until 2006. The completion of Stage 1 late in 2008, with associated trunk sewers, signalled the launch of a spate of housing subdivisions.
Pimpama is home to a few tourist attractions. The Strawberry Farm is a working farm located in the township. It is home to a variety of animals, as well as a kiosk. The Le Mans complex contains Australia’s only Zorb course, as well as a go-kart track.
Gainsborough Greens, a golf course is also located in the suburb. Another golf course, Pacific Springs was partly demolished to make way for the Pacific Motorway upgrade in the early 2000s. Remains of the course, as well as the street formerly accessing the course still exist, west of the Hotham Creek crossing of the motorway.
Pimpama is home to three state primary schools, Pimpama State School, located near the township; Ormeau State School,located in Canowindra estate; and Pimpama State Primary College, which opened in January 2015 and is located within the new Mirvac housing development off Yawalpah Road. A state secondary school, Pimpama State Secondary College, was opened in 2013. The suburb is serviced by Queensland Rail City network through Ormeau railway station, also located in Canowindra and is bisected by the M1 Motorway.
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