Ballarat Botanic Gardens to be redeveloped

THE Ballarat City Council will this week vote on a proposal to ‘rebrand’ and redevelop the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. 

Under the proposal, the gardens would become known as the Ballarat Botanical Gardens and Arboretum. 

The council has been working closely with the Friends of the Gardens, with the existing master plan now about 20 years old. 

Council documents reveal a new ‘vision’ document has been prepared. 

If adopted by the council during Wednesday’s ordinary meeting, the vision will “ensure that the future of the gardens and its surrounding precinct continue to preserve and enhance what was originally created back in the 1850s”.

The council has engaged botanical consultant Mark Richardson to develop the new vision. 

The new vision states: “Botanic Gardens are today viewed as environmentally sustainable institutions holding documented collections of living plants for the purposes of scientific research, conservation, display and education.

“By June 2016, the Ballarat Botanical Gardens is to meet its role as a botanic garden in the 21st century and position itself as one of Australia’s top regional botanic gardens.”

Friends of the Gardens past president Elizabeth Gilfillan said the group was thrilled by the plans and thanked the council for its help. 

“This is all about placing Ballarat’s gardens as the best regional botanic gardens in the country and associating links with other botanic gardens” Ms Gilfillan said. “The redevelopment will focus on the whole precinct and ensure the gardens are safeguarded for the future.”

Under the proposal, the north and south of the gardens would be combined with other lake precincts to form a single arboretum. 

The wetlands area would also be made part of the gardens, while measures would be taken to ensure more education is available to the public about the gardens. 

There are also plans to involve Federation University to “explore projects such as landscape planning and wetland systems”.

Ms Gilfillan said the idea to redevelop the gardens started when the Friends of the Gardens began plans for the redevelopment of the fernery area. 

The existing fernery, a key heritage feature of the gardens, will also be redeveloped to meet with the rest of the gardens.

patrick.byrne@fairfaxmedia.com.au

Friends of the Gardens committee member Helen Vincent and past president Elizabeth Gilfilan are backing a rebranding and redevelopment of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

Friends of the Gardens committee member Helen Vincent and past president Elizabeth Gilfilan are backing a rebranding and redevelopment of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens. PICTURE: JEREMY BANNISTER

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