Monday 23 June 2008
Hon Michelle O’Byrne
Royal Tasmania Botanical Gardens
FUTURE OF THE BOTANICAL GARDENS
Mr FINCH - There was a rumour some time ago about a charge for entry. What has happened there? Is that on the radar; to consider a charge for entry?
Ms O'BYRNE - There is a charge for concerts.
Mr FINCH - Right.
Mr GADD - We do charge for events. At the recent “TreadLightly” festival we asked for a $5 entry fee if you travelled by vehicle to the gardens. If you travelled by foot or other human power we let you in for nothing, given the nature of the event and the environment.
Ms O'BYRNE - We had places to park bikes.
Mr GADD - But, no, there are no plans at all to charge for entry to the gardens.
Mr DEAN - Weddings and that, I suppose, you do.
Mr GADD - We do hire out the various elements of the gardens for things like weddings and the conservatory. We do charge for those but for general access, there is no charge.
Ms O'BYRNE - You have to buy your coffee but it is extremely good coffee, so I can recommend that in any breaks in the Legislative Council that you rock on down to the gardens and have a coffee.
Mr GADD - I also recommend the restaurant as a fantastic place for lunch.
Mr DEAN - Yes, it is.
CHAIR - If only we had time.
Mr FINCH - Okay, so people are forthcoming with their donations.
Mr GADD - They are, and we have donation boxes scattered throughout. We do generate a little income out of those. I would love to get more.
Ms O'BYRNE - We are having some discussions about other ways to do this.
Mr GADD - We have 350 000 visitors, if only I got a dollar off every one, we would be right.
Mr FINCH - An entry sounds a lot better, doesn't it? The explanation for the ending of the capital investment program for the end of this current financial year is understandable, but in note 9 on page 4.6 there is a mention of the Royal Tasmanian Botanical Gardens Backflow Prevention Project. I have not been able to find an explanation of that.
Mr GADD - Do you want to know what that project is?
Mr FINCH - Yes.
Mr GADD - There is a new law - I think it is under the Building Code - that says when you have effluent and water infrastructure in the same place, you need to be able to prevent any possibility of a back flow so that there might be cross-contamination into the water supply. You therefore have to install these - forgive me but I do not get the technical aspects of this - back flow prevention devices. It is essentially a valve that allows a one-way flow.
Mr DEAN - A reflux valve.
Mr GADD - Yes.
Ms O'BYRNE - So to speak.
Mr GADD - If you have been to Hobart airport recently and the new development as you turn into the airport drive, there are some big pipes. They are blue - big valves in a big cage. They are back flow prevention devices which are currently being installed into the gardens. Then we will be screening them and hiding them as best we can.
Mr FINCH - Okay, so they must be quite extensive and quite expensive.
Mr GADD - Absolutely.
Mr FINCH - Yes, it seems like a simple process, doesn't it?
Mr GADD - That is what we thought.
Mr FINCH - It sounds simple, okay. Also it seems to me that there is room for expansion. Right from when I was a kid, it seems that the botanical gardens have always -
Ms O'BYRNE - Are you planning a move on the Governor, Kerry?
Mr FINCH - been the same size. No, no. I am thinking more back up the hill across the road. You know what I mean, I am just wondering about promoting our interesting Tasmanian flora. People love to go to go to botanical gardens, and I am sure that they would love to see or would take in more of the botanical gardens if there was more.
Mr GADD - Absolutely. There are real opportunities there with the Domain and Beaumaris Zoo. There are no opportunities with Government House and I will just put that on the record.
Mr GADD - The reality is we need to manage what we have before we look beyond the fence but we are developing a strategic master plan that very much engages with those issues about what the Gardens might look like in 20 years' time. Recently we have reacquired ownership of Pavilion Point where the old ANM shed was on the other side of the highway and that is now back in control of the Gardens.
Mr FINCH - So that presents what opportunity?
Mr GADD - An opportunity mainly for a bit of a recreation space and some sort of interpretation; perhaps a picnic and barbecue area so people do not actually have to come right into the Gardens because we find that a lot of people just want to come for a barbecue and the facilities within the Gardens are therefore stretched, so it is just another outlet and another possibility to do that. We will probably do some plantings and some other interpretation down there. The Domain presents itself as a great opportunity to perhaps look at Australian native species in particular.
Ms O'BYRNE - A broader cultural heritage precinct.
Mr GADD - Dialogue is ongoing with the Hobart City Council but there is nothing on the immediate radar. As I said, we are more focused on issues within the boundary at the moment.
Mr WING - In Tasmania, I think we have the opportunity to present a flower show of the equal of the Chelsea Flower Show. The Launceston Rotary Club, for some years, did a very good job having a flower show then the emphasis seemed to be on commercial side of it selling garden equipment, fertilisers, seeds and bulbs et cetera but still with a flower show and then they ceased that. Having seen the Chelsea Flower Show, I am sure that we could provide just as high a standard exhibition somewhere in Tasmania during spring which would attract people from the mainland.
Ms O'BYRNE - The Tulip Festival certainly does that now; there is a great interest in the Tulip Festival. Generally people are coming in a little bit before the Tulip Festival.
Mr GADD - The tulips can be a bit unpredictable, as you would know, but we are trying to broaden that concept to not just tulips.
Mr WING - Yes, that would be very good; to have it in some nice exhibition centre and it could become an Australian feature and an international one as well.
Mr GADD - I agree.