Plans in pipeline to spruce up Botanical Gardens

2013-05-24 00:00

AFTER much criticism, the management at the Pietermaritzburg Botanical Gardens has stepped up to the plate and implemented long-term plans to improve their services.

It has assessed all the challenges facing the gardens and received funding and new staff.

Some of the plans have already been implemented and others are in the pipeline, says the director of the gardens, Gcina Nene.

“We are doing everything we can to improve the quality of the gardens. One of the biggest challenges we had was a shortage of staff, which resulted in poor maintenance. We have now received funding from the expanded public works programme to hire 22 staff members.

“We also received funding from Green Jobs that has allowed us to acquire an estate manager, interpretation officer, an additional horticulturist and conservation workers,” Nene told The Witness.

The new staff are focused on maintaining the gardens and getting rid of harmful alien species and weeds.

Graduate students are also coming in, bringing new skills. The Sunbi group has implemented an early detection rapid response team. They detect weeds quickly and get rid of them fast. The gardens have also acquired three new tractors and new equipment.

Kingfisher Lake is undergoing major reconstruction. The Sunbi group has appointed a company, Ground-truth, to conduct an environmental impact assessment that will take three months to complete.

“Once Groundtruth have finished their assessment they will provide us with a long-term plan on how to sustain the lake properly. Once the assessment is done, the company T & T will come and dredge the lake,” says Nene. “When it’s done, the lake will look brand-new.”

The gardens are to host more events to accommodate a diverse and growing clientele.

Says Nene: “We are doing the best we can to keep our existing market happy, while accommodating our new market.”

One such event was held this week, for Biodiversity Day, to which schools were invited.

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