FLASHBACK: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk met with Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga at the Botanical Gardens to view the damage, after touring cyclone-affected farms along the Capricorn Coast. Photo Rachael Conaghan/The Morning Bulletin
FLASHBACK: Queensland Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk met with Rockhampton Mayor Margaret Strelow and Keppel MP Brittany Lauga at the Botanical Gardens to view the damage, after touring cyclone-affected farms along the Capricorn Coast. Photo Rachael Conaghan/The Morning Bulletin Rachael Conaghan

Redesign of Botanic Gardens after Marcia seeks tourism value

VISIONS of a new and improved Rockhampton Botanic Gardens have been discussed with a consultant, who has pointed out several things which could be improved.

In Tuesday's Rockhampton Regional Council meeting, councillors endorsed the post-Cyclone Marcia restoration priorities outlined in a report, while also taking into consideration the opinions of external consultant John Taylor.

Mr Taylor said the report was "a competent and practical document", but said things like signage, the café and the Murray Lagoons view could all be improved.

"I don't think you're really getting the tourism value out of it," he said. "Do what local government does best and take a people-oriented view."

The report outlines the program of work to be put in place to progress restoration of the gardens after cyclonic winds caused extensive damage to the botanical collection and the infrastructure.

GARDEN GROWTH: The above graphic shows the cultural heritage conservation value for each planted area comprising the gardens’ collection, according to council’s restoration plan post Tropical Cyclone Marcia. It outlines the approach council will take in the restoration and the assigned priorities of each section. The sections which have been assessed as having cultural heritage significance are referred to as iconic elements.
GARDEN GROWTH: The above graphic shows the cultural heritage conservation value for each planted area comprising the gardens’ collection, according to council’s restoration plan post Tropical Cyclone Marcia. It outlines the approach council will take in the restoration and the assigned priorities of each section. The sections which have been assessed as having cultural heritage significance are referred to as iconic elements.

While there is a need to restore and replace existing elements, council also identified the opportunity to redesign parts of the gardens to improve the layout.

Options include redesigning the entry precinct to improve parking arrangements, refurbishing the Japanese Garden and the North-South Axis and creating an Australian native plant precinct.

However, the highest priority is replacing palms around the cenotaph.

Other high priorities include the Phyllis St entry, the banyan figs at the kiosk, the experimental garden and the Ann St entry.

Mr Taylor did work on a conservation management plan for Rockhampton's gardens in 2001 and has also managed the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne as well as parks and gardens in Brisbane.

Rockhampton's Botanic Gardens have been heritage listed since July 23, 1999, and, as a result, council's strategies to replace lost and damaged trees must take into account conservation values.

Council's 2015/16 Parks capital budget includes $250,000 for the restoration of built infrastructure, like roads and pathways, in the gardens.



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