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A possible new enterprise for Council? A Feasibility study of accommodation at the Bot Gardens

The bushfires of last summer destroyed Old Mogo Town and its on-site accommodation. The 4.5ha property, zoned SP3 - Tourist is now on the market as vacant possession. The for sale website says of Old Mogo Town: There are a number of remaining buildings and infrastructure in place after the tragic bushfires.


The previous cabins and cottages accommodated up to 130 guests. The Original Gold Rush Colony was a significant tourist business prior to the bushfires. Now to be sold as a blank canvas offering 11 acres right in town.


An opportunity to re-establish accommodation, or a range of other developments. The current proposal by Eurobodalla Council to investigate and advocate for the development of 150km of mountain bike trails within the Mogo State Forest that have a starting point in Mogo might see an investor consider rebuilding on the Old Mogo site, especially as the Mayor advises that they estimate 45,000 visitors per year which equates to 900 every weekend (or 125 per day) The intention of the proposal is to attract visitors to an international standard course to invigorate the local tourism economy. To the north of Mogo township the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens were also burnt out by the bushfires leaving just the pavillion standing. This was a tourism drawcard to the area. While it was heavily subsidised by Council and NSW tax payers via the many grants it received it raised very little revenue but did serve the purpose of acting as a botanical garden and tourism facility. It is estimated that it will now require several more million dollars to return it to the drawcard it was. The proposed mountain bike course takes in Deep Creek Dam that borders the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens. It is therefore of interest to the region year's Consult Australia FutureNet Business Leaders Course was set a project to consider around the refurbishment and rebirthing of the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens:  Highly regarded across the industry, Consult Australia’s FutureNet Business Leaders Course has been running annually for more than a decade, with its alumni in the public and private sector sought-after by employers and clients alike.  Course participants complete a multi-disciplinary team project supported by an accomplished industry mentor. The project takes participants out of their comfort zone, and puts into practice the skills and knowledge developed through the course. 


Winning project teams are selected based on both a public vote and their presentations to a panel of industry judges.  The challenging project for the FutureNet Business Leader 2020 participants this year was to conduct a feasibility study on the development of accommodation at the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens in regional NSW. The gardens were damaged by the bushfires at the beginning of 2020. This feasibility study was to include:

  1. Engineering and Design Aspects including concept designs to facilitate a development application

  2. A new entry to the accommodation precinct that does not allow cars into the existing Garden

  3. Integration with the existing ERBG facility including after-hours access to the Garden to provide unique visitor experiences

  4. Target Markets

  5. Sustainability, in particular for bushfire, for the accommodation and the broader site including consideration of the nearby Dam to assist in fire protection

  6. The accommodation must be a model of environmental and economic sustainability with inbuilt education aspects

  7. Stakeholder Engagement

  8. Delivery Timelines

  9. Financial Feasibility

  10. The feasibility study is for the whole of life of the accommodation including operational and maintenance ongoing While the above is simply an exercise it has already gained the attention of Council who might just request a copy of the final draft of the feasibility study on the development of accommodation at the Eurobodalla Botanic Gardens. Council already has a firm foothold in providing visitor accommodation in the shire with its highly competitive BIG4 Batemans Bay Beach Resort establishing the precedent that they are prepared to compete with the private sector, supported by ratepayer funding, in a market place already under immense pressure.

Above: Bushfire devastated large parts of Eurobodalla, including in and around Mogo. Although fire swept through the Eurobodalla Regional Botanic Garden, the most recently constructed and renovated building survived intact.

The new building – including visitor centre, herbarium, café and education hub – was designed and constructed to high fire standards, using selected hardwoods, with the potential of severe fire impact in mind. The building was handed over to ERBG Manager Michael Anlezark on Friday 20 December and has yet to be officially opened.

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