Get active: support a vision of Wollongong Botanic Garden with more local native plantings!

OK I know most of us just want to have a quiet time enjoying the good things in life and a spot of gardening. But for those in the Wollongong LGA, or who visit the area, there's an important opportunity right now to help determine the future direction of Wollongong Botanic Garden. 
A quick snap of Bangalow Palms (Archontophoenix cunninghamiana) in the rainforest gully. Image by Emma Rooksby. 
A draft Wollongong Botanic Garden Masterplan has been released for public consultation, and we have until Monday 3 September (yes, only two weeks away!) to provide comments. 

Tthis plan recommends something really significant: expanding the garden's existing collections into the Kooloobong Oval area with rainforest plantings that help link the rainforest walk area of the gardens to Mount Keira. (See p27 for the key bullet points.)

Mount Keira and the Wollongong Botanic Garden are very close to each other physically, but at the moment there's limited connectivity between them. Imagine how good it would be if you could walk from the rainforest areas of the gardens to the Ken Ausburn Track at the base of Mt Keira through continuous native plantings!

And, I'm sorry to say it, but this vision is currently under threat, because the University of Wollongong has proposed a voluntary planning agreement that would convert the ovals area to a synthetic turf area leased to the University for 20 years.

Please have your say by September 3, through the Wollongong City Council website or by emailing councillors.  You could support the proposal to keep the current uses of the ovals area, and extension of rainforest plantings into this area, and to increase the links between the Garden and Mount Keira.

There are lots of other issues to consider in the draft Masterplan, around adding a cafe, what will happen to Glennifer Brae (keep the Con!) and so on, but the future of the ovals area is very much about Going Native in the Illawarra. I hope you'll find a few minutes to let Council know your views and support an extension of rainforest plantings in the ovals area! 


A healthy Gymea Lily (Doryanthes excelsa) in the woodland area of Wollongong Botanic Garden. Image by Emma Rooksby.

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