Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Gardens is ready to forge ahead with its major redevelopment following a funding announcement from the federal government this week.
Gilmore MP Ann Sudmalis on Wednesday announced a $460,000 commitment towards the Gardens project, which will help the facility cope with growing visitor demands.
The latest funding boost adds to the significant fundraising efforts of the Friends of the Botanic Gardens group, almost $200,000 from Eurobodalla Council and smaller grant funds.
Eurobodalla Council’s Botanic Gardens Manager and redevelopment working group spokesman Michael Anlezark said the funding announcement was “fantastic news” for the collaborative project, which is driven by the Friends, Eurobodalla Council and the community.
“We’re pretty excited. This has been in the pipeline for a couple of years now and our project working group has worked very hard to make this dream a reality,” he said.
Mr Anlezark said the improvements would make the Gardens one of the best in regional Australia.
“Our visitor numbers are continuing to grow and are expected to reach well over 100,000 by 2020,” he said.
“The funding and redevelopment plans will ensure the Botanic Gardens continues to grow and connect people with plants in a free and safe environment with world-class facilities. We’re incredibly grateful to Ms Sudmalis for her support in obtaining this important funding.”
The $1 million redevelopment includes an exhibition and event space, additional toilets and increased storage. The existing Visitor Centre will be extended to accommodate these new spaces and its interior repurposed to include a new café and information and sales area. The heritage-listed Wallace Herbarium will also be relocated to a new purpose-built, climate-controlled structure near the nursery area.
Mr Anlezark praised the project working group, comprising three representatives each from Council, the Friends, and the wider community.
“The working group has been fantastic in taking this project forward and I have no doubt their expertise and skills will create the best possible outcome,” he said
Mr Anlezark said that while more funding was needed for the fit-out, ground works could start within a few months.
“We will soon go out to tender for the construction and we aim for the redevelopment to be complete by December next year,” he said.