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Botanical Gardens Restoration Project Launched

botanic_gardens_restoration_projectWe as Vincentians are the custodians. If we don’t set the standards, who will? This was the sentiment expressed at a gathering of investors at the launch of the Botanical Gardens Restoration Project, on February 6th, 2012, at the newly restored Curator’s House. The project begins an effort to return the Gardens to its former glory in honor of its 250th anniversary in 2015.

The development plans

Following remarks from Mr. Gideon Nash, Chairman of National Parks Rivers and Beaches Authority (NPRBA) and Dr. Jules Ferdinand, Business Leader and International Consultant, Director of the NPRBA, Mr. Andrew Wilson, delivered an outline of the project. Wilson said that a “thematic approach to development” will be pursued, including Shape Gardens.

Some 20 acres will be landscaped, and there are plans to improve and increase infrastructure and facilities, expand the Nursery, which has capacity to generate returns, introduce an Herberium, construct and stock a gift shop and a facility to house a database of information on the Gardens.

RBTT has also agreed to sponsor the upgrading of the aviary.

Wilson hopes that the Gardens could be seen not just as a spectacle to be admired but as a  tool in the lives of our young persons.

“Gardens around the world are playing a great role in figuring out good plants that can be used to battle climate change in our world,” Wilson said, “and it is hoped that the garden can play a role in Education, facilitating science projects and research.”

The NPRBA Director also emphasized the importance of a Curator in the life of any Garden.  “It’s like having a hospital without a doctor.  We need a curator,” she implored.

In order to implement the plans, a visitor fee may be charged. According to Wilson, there were 18,000 visitors to the gardens in 2011, and in survey, it was found that visitors to the Gardens would be willing to pay an average of $8.10, as locals and $22.10 as foreigners.

A vision

Mr. Ty Kovach, Operations Manager of the Mustique Company Limited, expressed his love for our 32 islands and his hopes for our Gardens to begin a change in the way the world sees nature.

“We should have a 100 year vision of what we expect it to look like,” he said as he pledged his allegiance to the project.

The ceremony came to an end with presentations of contributions to the Project by Mrs. Jankie Glass of The Friends of the Botanic Gardens and Karib Cable, and the Manager of the Bank of Nova Scotia.

Much work is planned for the 3 years until the 250th anniversary of the Gardens, and it is hoped that all Vincentians and investors will lend a hand to see this crowning jewel restored.

Source of article:
by Karissa Clarke
The Vincentian