Children's Garden Among Bequest Funding Proposals

30 April 2012

A special garden for children at the Botanic Garden, improvements to Tawa and Johnsonville parks and support for a new park on Miramar Peninsula are all looking likely in the next few years thanks to funding support from the Charles Plimmer Bequest.

City Councillors are keen to see the bequest funding used for the four projects but before they make a final decision, they want to find out what Wellingtonians think. The proposals are among those outlined in the city's draft Long-Term Plan 2012-22 and submissions are required by Friday 18 May.

The bequest-funded projects that the Council is considering are:

  • $750,000 to part-fund the development of the Botanic Garden Children's Garden in 2013/14 and 2014/2015 (subject to the Council obtaining external funding for the balance of the construction and operating costs)
  • $650,000 for the redevelopment of Grasslees Reserve in Tawa in 2012/2013 and 2013/14
  • $380,000 for the development of the community walkway at Alex Moore Park in Johnsonville in 2015/2016
  • $150,000 in 2012/13 for a catalyst project to support the government's development of Watts Peninsula Park in Miramar.

The Council's Natural Environment Portfolio Leader, Councillor Helene Ritchie, says the bequest funding is fantastic because it allows the Council to make significant improvements to the city's parks and outdoor areas that it wouldn't otherwise be able to afford.

In recent years, it has been used for aspects of the award-winning upgrade of Oriental Bay, improvements at Scorching Bay and the upgrade of Central Park, Brooklyn.

"In the next few years, we'd like to see it used on a range of projects including an exciting new children's garden. This would be a fascinating and stimulating place for children and their families with interactive media and a demonstration garden so children could get their hands in the dirt and learn about plants and how to grow them.

"The $1.5 million garden would be located near the children's playground and the Treehouse and be along the lines of a popular children's garden in Melbourne."

Cr Ritchie says the redevelopment of Grasslees Reserve would include a new bridge linking sections of the park along with new tracks, entrances, picnic area and revamped play area funded by the Council.  

"The funding proposed for Watts Peninsula would go towards improving Council-owned or managed land adjacent to the future park - areas that are likely to be under increased pressure when this special area becomes a public reserve.

In Alex Moore Park we are looking to develop a walking and jogging track and associated fitness circuit and in future years we may also consider using bequest funding to improve Newlands Park."

The Plimmer Trust was established in 1980, 50 years after Charles Plimmer died, bequeathing the income from his residual estate to the Council for the benefit of Wellingtonians. The bequest must be used for beautifying the bays, beaches and reserves around Wellington.