14 July 2016 Best Interests of Garden are Goal

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14 July 2016 Best Interests of Garden are Goal

Negotiating a 12-month licence, while continuing to work on a final Strategic Plan for its future with the Friends of the Botanic Garden, is the outcome of consultation over the future of the community facility.

The Botanic Garden is a State Government Crown Land reserve which is managed by Council in its capacity as Coffs Coast State Park Trust Manager. As Trust Manager, Council is responsible for the day-to-day management of the Garden and its maintenance.

Currently the Friends, which has been operating as a volunteer group at the site since 1981, has no formal right of tenure for its activities.

“We’re aiming to find a way to continue to work together with the Friends of the Botanic Garden and to maximise the potential of the Garden to provide quality recreational experiences, while also protecting this very special space,” said Mick Raby, Council’s Director Sustainable Infrastructure.

Following extensive community consultation and workshops, Council as the Trust Manager has agreed a trial implementation of the draft Strategic Plan. This will provide time for further consultation with the Friends to ensure that the proposed changes in the draft Strategy are the best options for the Garden’s future.

The Friends will also receive a 12-month temporary license that allows them to continue to operate the kiosk, café, seed bank and day-to-day activities within the Garden. This will address the key issue of the lack of formal rights in relation to the Friends’ commercial ventures at the Garden.

An Advisory Committee comprising representatives from the Friends and Council is also to be established, to help develop a list of priorities.

The draft Strategic Plan, appropriately amended with lessons learned during the trial, will be re-presented to the Trust for final adoption.

“During that time, we hope any problematic issues with the Strategic Plan will have been identified and worked through so that a stronger version of the Strategic Plan can be developed before its final adoption,” added Mr Raby.​