Council digs deep for botanic gardens
By Yvonne McLean
After more than a decade of planning the Gold Coast City Council's long-term project ? the establishment of a Regional Botanic Garden ? has taken a positive step forward, not a giant step but a real funding pledge.
Among a long list of budget items covering the next 10 years and committing $248 million to sport, recreation and open space, is $2.5 million for the Botanic Garden at Rosser Park, Ashmore in 2005-2006, with a further $1.85 million in 2006-2007 and $700,000 in 07-08.
In past years, much smaller funding has been allocated and as a real step forward council some time ago appointed curator-project manager Kit Smith, to the task.
Then more recently, Rotary unveiled plans for a sensory garden to be included in the botanic scheme ? a garden where people with a disability could safely wander to enjoy the touch and smell of plants.
The group, Friends of the Botanic Garden, have over the past few years established hundreds of shrubs and plants in a section of the site and have also begun an area on the theme, mangroves to the mountain.
So much has been voluntarily achieved so far.
But this latest council contribution is the real music to the ears of Gene Rosser, daughter of John and Essie Rosser, pioneer apiarists who donated a huge part of their property in perpetuity to the city council of the day as an environment park. In doing so, they sowed the seeds of a future Botanic Garden.
In the past decade, Ms Rosser, who lives in the spacious family home with verandas overlooking the park, some- times gave up hope that she would see the dream come true.
"The commitment of funding over several years is wonderful news, and at the same time we hear the Rose Society will begin planning their special part of the garden this week, soon there should be visible signs that here indeed is a world-class Botanic Garden being created," she said.
Gene Rosser paid a tribute to the members of Friends of the Botanic Garden who had promoted, lobbied council and weeded and planted over a number of years.
"Their enthusiasm has played a big part in making the garden possible," she said.
Ms Rosser said in years to come the Gold Coast Botanic Garden would hopefully become a rich source of study, research and a place of natural beauty for all to enjoy.