No space for animals

THE Fauna Park enclosure, on the south-eastern end of the Sale Botanic Gardens, will be redeveloped, with a plan to modernise the site and install new attractions.

Sale Botanic Gardens are 150 years old and Wellington Shire council is planning for their next 150 years.

Council wants residents’ input to guide the next stage of the gardens’ development.

Horticulturalist Andrew Laidlaw has presented the community with a new concept for the Fauna Park.

This much-loved small fenced area was once home to native wildlife including kangaroos and wallabies, but has been nearly empty for a long time.

Mayor Darren McCubbin acknowledged the community may be uncomfortable with the idea of losing the Fauna Park, but assures residents the plan is to replace it with something better.

“With only two captive wallabies left behind the fence, and in changing times, this concept provides a superb chance to redevelop it into something we’ll all enjoy even more,” he said.

“Andrew Laidlaw has given us his ‘Garden for Life’ concept. Featuring bee palaces, a misty fern gallery and grassy maze, this is a seriously exciting idea to revamp an old, tired and relatively unused section of our glorious gardens.”

The Garden for Life concept is based on the relationship between people and plants. It looks at how people connect and interact, and the concept has enormous flexibility, according to Mr Laidlaw.

“These ideas are there to just give a taste of what the garden could be,” he said.

“I encourage both positive and negative feedback and try to get people thinking of other suggestions.”

Proposals listed on the designs include a community garden, beehives, a water rill, and space for hanging forest chairs.

Additional opportunities for the gardens are being investigated including signage, completion of footpaths and improved seating areas.

“We really want to pick the brains of a lot of community members on this, we want to find out what they hope to see in the gardens in future,” Cr McCubbin said.

“We want to know what they value about the gardens now; how they use the gardens; how often they visit; and what would encourage them to visit more often.”

The concept masterplan is on display at the Sale Library for people to look at and have their say via a community survey.

The survey and plans are also available online at www.wellington.vic.gov.au, under Projects Seeking Feedback.

Comments are welcomed until 5pm Monday, June 27.