Ballarat City Council has voted to support the delivery of stage two landscaping works of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Fernery.
The landscaping works will create a new entrance to the Ballarat Botanical Gardens from Wendouree Parade, with the introduction of a fernery forecourt and internal landscaping within the fernery structure.
The landscaping will also connect the fernery and the rest of the gardens, with footpaths providing access to the North and South Gardens and the Robert Clark Conservatory. The works will be completed ahead of the 2023 Ballarat Begonia Festival.
The stage two works are estimated to cost $511,700. A funding agreement will be drafted between the Friends of Ballarat Botanical Gardens and Ballarat Botanical Gardens Foundation, which have agreed to contribute $250,000 towards the landscaping, and the City of Ballarat, which will contribute $250,000 as part of its Draft Budget 2022-23.
While delivering the stage two landscaping works, a review and update of the Ballarat Botanical Gardens Master Plan will commence, with the scoping of the Master Plan to begin in 2022-23. Extensive stakeholder engagement is expected to be undertaken to support the development of the Master Plan.
The Master Plan will update the 1995 Ballarat Botanical Gardens Master Plan and Management Strategy, which will help to ensure decisions relevant to the gardens into the future continue to meet community expectations, align with existing council strategies as well as challenges, such as climate change and population growth.
The consideration of an open pergola/structure to create a new outdoor fernery, replacing the decaying 1950s steel structure, will be considered as part of the review and update of the Master Plan.
City of Ballarat Mayor, Cr Daniel Moloney said the landscaping works will elevate the fernery precinct, improving accessibility for all.
“The new landscaping designs complement the fernery’s history while providing improved connections to Wendouree Parade and the broader Ballarat Botanical Gardens,” he said.
“As one of only two examples in this state of a grand Victorian plant house, the fernery creates another outstanding experience for those who enjoy and visit our spectacular Ballarat Botanical Gardens.”
The new fernery is a recreation of the original gothic style fernery that existed in the mid-1880s. The $1.7 million stage one structure was completed in 2021 and the fernery opened for the first time to residents and visitors as part of the 70th Ballarat Begonia Festival in March.