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Have your say on plan for botanical gardens

Council staff and councillors standing in front of the lake at the Botanical Gardens.

Have a say on the draft plans to manage the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens.

Wednesday 22 May 2019

Council invites the community to have a say on a draft plan to guide management of the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens. Two drop in sessions will help park users find out more.

The much loved botanical gardens are one of the oldest in Victoria, and part of an important collection of provincial gardens in the state.

The draft Castlemaine Botanical Gardens Conservation Management Plan (CMP) identifies the heritage values and significance of the gardens in a local and state-wide context.

It includes an assessment of the significant features of the heritage-listed gardens, with policies and actions to manage, renew and protect them for decades to come.

The plan covers the area gazetted as the Castlemaine Botanical Gardens Reserve, which includes the caravan park and sunken oval as listed on the Victorian Heritage Register.

“This conservation management plan is an important document as it will guide how we manage and use the botanical gardens into the future,” said Stewart Campbell, Coordinator Parks and Gardens, Mount Alexander Shire Council.

“Previous plans have done us well in helping us conserve our built heritage. This plan includes a strong focus on managing the gardens as a living landscape, which is strongly influenced by seasonal and operational changes.

“It considers real challenges for management such as climate change and drought, and balancing recreational use with protecting heritage values,” he said.

Recommendations include the continued management of significant trees, maintaining a diverse collection of large trees in the heart of the gardens, propagation of rare and unusual species, introducing a botanical record keeping system, consolidating the rose collection, re-establishing planting programs and adding contemporary displays to our annual plantings.

Built heritage like the kiosk, entrance gates and curator’s residence at the caravan park should be restored while retaining reconstructed elements such as the rotunda, summerhouse and fountain. Park infrastructure like the lower and middle bridges, stone weir, historical pathways and the 4Cs club tables are to be conserved. The vacant fish hatchery could be documented and removed.

The plan includes a new statement of significance and will be reviewed by Heritage Victoria. It highlights botanical and interpretive signage as a priority, along with more tours, furniture and water fountains to improve the visitor experience.

The draft plan can be viewed at www.mountalexander.vic.gov.au/HaveYourSay, as well as at the Civic Centre, Castlemaine Library and local Visitor Information Centres.

To find out more head along to an information session at the Botanical Gardens Tea Rooms from 12.30pm to 1.30pm on Wednesday 29 May, or from 10am to 11am on Saturday 1 June.

Send your feedback titled Draft Botanical Gardens CMP to info@mountalexander.vic.gov.au or Mount Alexander Shire Council, PO Box 185, Castlemaine VIC 3450, by Friday 21 June.

The plan was developed by John Patrick Landscape Architects with input from conservation and heritage experts at Bryce Raworth Ptd Ltd. An assessment of community values was shaped by a community survey in 2017. For more information contact Council on 5471 1700.

Image: Council’s Stewart Campbell, Mayor Bronwen Machin, Gillian Miller and Cr Christine Henderson encourage everyone to have a say on the plan.

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