Have your say on the future of the Botanic Gardens

Published on 12 September 2023

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Colac Otway Shire Council is inviting residents and visitors to the area to help guide a Master Plan for Colac Botanic Gardens.

The Master Plan will provide a blueprint for development of the Botanic Gardens over the next 10 years.

Mayor Chris Potter said this was an opportunity for people to share their ideas – grand or small. “We want to know what is working, what’s not working and what people want the Botanic Gardens to look like into the future,” Cr Potter said.

Landscape architect Andrea Proctor will lead the process of developing the new Master Plan and has recently been involved in similar processes for the Royal Botanic Gardens in Melbourne and the Albury Botanic Gardens.

“I am thrilled to be working with the Council and the community on this important project. Colac’s William Guilfoyle-designed Gardens are a beautiful space,” Ms Proctor said.

“Botanic gardens are both a specialty and passion of mine and I am really interested in what the community wants to see and how we can build on the heritage of the Gardens, maintain its special features and sensitively propose new works to enhance the much-loved area on the edge of Lake Colac.”

The Gardens were established in 1865, and in 1868 Daniel Bunce, Director of the Geelong Botanic Gardens, was appointed to lay out the gardens in a “proper and scientific manner”. In 1910, outstanding botanist and landscape designer, William Guilfoyle was engaged to redesign the gardens.

Councillor Marg White said the area taking in the Botanic Gardens and the foreshore was an asset enjoyed by families for generations and she expects a lot of people will have an interest in preserving and enhancing it. “So please get involved through surveys and public information sessions,” she said.

“Over the next six weeks we want as much input as we can get,” Cr White said. “We all have our own special memories of the Gardens and now is a chance to put your ideas forward to inform preparation of the Master Plan. Take a stroll around the Gardens, take in all aspects – large and small – and let that inform your input.”

A survey is now available on the Council website’s ‘Have Your Say’ page and hard copies are available from Council’s Customer Service Centres in Colac and Apollo Bay.

A drop-in session, including a free sausage sizzle, will be held in the Botanic Gardens this Sunday, September 17 from 11am-1pm where residents can gain more information and share ideas with Ms Proctor and Council staff. The survey closes on October 20.

Further meetings with community groups will be held next week and also in coming months.



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