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Boost for gardens upgrade

The Bendigo Advertiser, 12 January 2016

Bendigo’s “Garden for the Future” has received a shot in the arm in the form of a $20,000 donation from the Bendigo Northern District Community Enterprise.

The money will help fund barbecue and picnic facilities as part of an upgrade of the Bendigo Botanic Gardens in White Hills which the council hopes will serve the community for generations to come.

BNDCE chairman Rob McClellan said the group was pleased to support one of Bendigo’s oldest and most iconic cultural assets.

“We see this funding as an investment in our community and we are more than pleased for it to go towards something visitors can use when visiting the gardens,” he said.

Mayor Rod Fyffe said the council was delighted with the BNDCE’s generosity and encouraged other like-minded groups and individuals to consider supporting the city’s parks and gardens.

“If you are philanthropically inclined, whether you be an organisation or whether you be an individual, look seriously at places like the Botanic Gardens,” he said.

“Invest in the future, invest in the community that way, because it will provide immediate benefit but will also provide benefit for many years to come.”

Bendigo Botanical Gardens development officer Gemma Fennell said the gardens would only grow in popularity as the upgrade was completed.

“We now have records that over 80,000 people are coming to the gardens each year, which is an incredibly high amount of visitation,” she said.

“The new play space that was built here in 2013 has been hugely popular and it’s really demonstrating that there’s demand for the gardens to expand.”

Ms Fennell said the Garden of the Future would leave a legacy for future generations of visitors to the gardens.

“It’ll be appreciated on the day that it’s built but it’ll be appreciated even more in 20 years’ time when it’s fully established and functioning,” she said.

The Garden for the Future will be the most botanically diverse section of the gardens, featuring more than 500 native and imported plants.

“It’s taking plants from all around Australia and all around the world, so from places with similar climates to Bendigo like the Mediterranean, China, India, California, Mexico and northern Africa,” Ms Fennell said.

On top of the BNDCE’s contribution, stage one of the project will be funded by $3.4 million from the City of Greater Bendigo, $500,000 from the state government and $20,000 from the Friends of Bendigo Botanic Gardens.

Construction will commence this year and is expected to open to the public in mid-2017.


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