Wellington City Council’s Environment Committee has agreed to the extra funding to ensure the priority project can go ahead, subject to final sign-off in the Council’s Long Term Planning process next year. The Plimmer Bequest has already contributed $750,000 to the project.
Plans are to develop the Children’s Garden on a 1500sq m hillside site near the Treehouse Visitor Centre and plant nursery. It is scheduled to open in spring 2016.
With the green light from Councillors, work is now expected to start on the garden in July 2015 while fundraising by the Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden continues.
“The new garden is the largest significant investment in the Wellington Botanic Garden since the duck pond was built 18 years ago. The duck pond has drawn Wellington children to the Botanic Garden for years; the new Children’s Garden will be something that will draw children from all over the region – and beyond,” says Environment Committee Chair Cr Iona Pannett.
“We need to keep investing in our regional attractions. The Wellington Botanic Garden sees more than 1.2 million visitors each year and this delivers a real economic benefit to the city, not to mention the economic and environmental benefits of teaching children about the sustainable use of our resources,” she says.
Cr Helene Ritchie, Natural Environment Portfolio Leader, says “the strength of the garden will be education and its ability to engage the interest and imagination of children. It will be a place of peace, contemplation and action. It will not only be a place to visit but also a catalyst to create links to our schools and community gardens throughout our City. Grandparents, parents and children will love it; a place for play, for learning, for fun, and for getting into the mud and dirt. No one will leave without getting their hands dirty”.
So far other contributors to the Children’s Garden project include: Wellington Community Trust ($75,000), Lagoda Legacy ($50,000), and The Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden ($15,000).
The Friends of the Wellington Botanic Garden will continue to fundraise for items the Plimmer Bequest doesn’t fund such as buildings.