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Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney unveils 25-year redevelopment plan

Royal Botanic Gardens Sydney unveils 25-year redevelopment plan
April 6, 2014

The draft of a $130 million redevelopment plan for Sydney's Royal Botanic Gardens that includes loss of parklands for a five-star hotel in the Domain as well as a children's garden, new walkways and educational centres has been released by the Sydney Parklands and Botanic Gardens Trust.

The plan, a first in the 200-year history of the park,  includes a walkway at Mrs Macquaries Point that will connect visitors with the water and the redevelopment of historic buildings to provicde new facilities and amenities. However, plans to develop a multimillion-dollar five-star hotel on land managed by the Trust is likely to prove the most controversial of the plan.

Commenting on the plan, Trust Executive Director Kim Ellis stated "when people consider the draft master plan, it's important that they understand that the Domain is outside the garden gates.

"This draft master plan provides us with the framework to secure our future as a premium Sydney cultural landmark, world's best, Sydney's own."

Under the $130 million plan the sites will be redeveloped over the next 25 years – broken down into five-year blocks – through a mix of private, government and charity funding.

Already, NSW opposition environment spokesman, Luke Foley, has questioned whether a hotel development "in any way complies with the objects of the Royal Botanic Gardens Trust Act".

Foley told the ABC "its core purposes are to provide green space to the people of Sydney and to increase our knowledge and appreciation of Australia's plant life,.

"The voices of botanists, plant scientists and horticulturalists will be drowned out by the construction planners and commercial event organisers."

Ellis said science would remain at the forefront of the plan, with the gardens containing 9,000 different plants of 6,000 different species.

Last year, a NSW Government report revealed that there had been an 18% reduction in public open space in Sydney between in 2004 and 2013 - see link below - while in the January/February 2014 issue of Australasian Leisure Management, Editor Karen Sweaney wrote of increasing national pressures to develop parklands and public open space in the feature Parks under Pressure

29th November 2013 - NSW GOVERNMENT REPORT FINDS STATEWIDE LOSS OF PARKS AND PUBLIC OPEN SPACE 

6th October 2013 - $4 MILLION FOR OPEN SPACE PROJECTS AROUND SYDNEY

27th April 2013 - GREEN SPACE REPORT REVEALS AUSTRALIANS SPEND LESS TIME IN PARKS

5th March 2013 - LANDMARK ENVIRONMENTAL ATTRACTION TO BE BUILT IN SYDNEY’S ROYAL BOTANICAL GARDEN

10th May 2011 - PARKS ESSENTIAL FOR HUMAN HEALTH

19th November 2010 - FORGET LEISURE: FOCUS ON THE EXPERIENCE INDUSTRY

27th June 2008 - PARKS FORUM HIGHLIGHTS VALUE OF PARKS


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