Mr. Chair, I rise to speak about Mt Coot-tha in the Pullenvale Ward and the Sherwood Arboretum: Page 55, Service

From 2020-21, the curation of Sherwood Arboretum will be delivered from this Service – previously delivered within Service – Parks Maintenance and Renewal.

This move is to highlight Sherwood Arboretum leading into the gardens’ 100th anniversary in March 2025. Additionally, the Brisbane Botanic Gardens at Mt Coot-tha, which officially opened in 1976, will be celebrating its 50th anniversary in 2026. 

The Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha are recognised as Queensland’s premier sub-tropical botanic gardens. The 56-hectare gardens open daily and offers visitors a living museum of native and exotic plant collections, featuring more than 250,000 plants representing approximately 5,000 species from around the world.

Plants are displayed in subtly changing thematic and geographic communities. The themed sections include a fragrant garden, bamboo grove, arid zone, Japanese Gardens, waterfalls, tropical dome and the largest collection of Australian native rainforest trees in the world. The Auditorium features horticultural shows most weekends, although these events are currently cancelled due to COVID-19 with the personal safety of Brisbane residents and visitors our top priority.

Currently, a number of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha assets constructed 30+ years ago have reached or are reaching the end of their life.

Council’s endorsed Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha Master Plan (2018) identifies asset investment priorities. A program of works will be undertaken over the next five years to ensure that the Gardens present optimally for its 50th anniversary celebration in 2026.

The following works are proposed to be undertaken as part of this project toward the anniversary:

  • Irrigation Reticulation Upgrade to deliver a recycled water transfer line from Ross McKinnon Lagoon to Melaleuca Lake
  • Pedestrian Pathway Rehabilitation to rehabilitate and upgrade pathways throughout the gardens to address safety issues
  • Tree Risk Management which will result in a management plan to manage the risk of tree/limb fall to address workplace health and safety and visitor safety concerns
  • Implementation of the Wayfinding Strategy
  • A Curated Interpretative Plan that will provide a consistent approach to the implementation of interpretative messages and projects, supported by a Guide and Design Plan, linked to wayfinding that will enhance the visitor experience and education programs
  • Schools Entry Facility Upgrade which will provide a shaded assembly area for school and other community groups to gather
  • Design and install new wall at the entrance to the Gardens and reinstall destination signage
  • Upgrade Children’s trail with interactive activities and signage
  • Development of site-wide Curated Art Strategy for sculptures including engineering investigations
  • Stage 1 design to improve capacity for weddings and events on the Fig Tree Lawn
  • Investigations, planning and design to support the redevelopment of iconic infrastructure and other asset investment priorities outlined in the Brisbane Botanic Gardens Mt Coot-tha Master Plan (2018) such as:
    • The Bonsai House redevelopment
    • Gardens the Tropical Display Dome
    • investigate Gardens water supply for irrigation. This is critical for adapting to climate variability.

In 2020-21, the budget for the completion of wayfinding signage in the Mt Coot-tha precinct to assist residents and visitors to move safely around the entire mountain and the Mt Coot-tha precinct has been transferred to this project.  Stage 1 works were delivered in 2019-20 in the Mt Coot-tha Infrastructure project. 

Sherwood Arboretum is recognised as Brisbane’s third Botanic Garden which boasts an impressive collection of over 1,100 trees, representing approximately 250 species. The site features a number of botanical collections including riverine, dry rainforest, dry sclerophyll, fig avenue, freshwater wetlands, and the main attraction being a grand avenue of 72 kauri pines. Sherwood Arboretum is part of the Brisbane Botanic Gardens collection.

I know the Lord Mayor is a huge fan of the Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens and often meets with Ross McKinnon and the Lord Mayor recently visited the Sherwood Arboretum to meet with the Friends of the Sherwood Arboretum and was very impressed.

He is excited to work with both of the Friends group towards their 2025 100-year anniversary for the Arboretum and the 2026 50th Anniversary for Mt Coot-tha Botanic Gardens.

I know Cr Johnston will be equally excited to support the Friends and the council officers toward this incredible milestone.

In conclusion about Mount Coot-tha Mr. Chair, some personal observations. Its wonderful now that people are able to get out and about more, that the mountain appears to be more popular than it has ever been.

During lockdown, people looking for exercise options took on the very challenging tracks to the top of the mountain in very large numbers.

And I’ve never seen as many people enjoying the parks and gardens as much as they did on that first weekend families were allowed back into public spaces. To borrow a phrase, it was busier than Grand Central Station.

My wife and I were just another anonymous couple in the crowd that Sunday enjoying a picnic and one of the many wonderful walks.

It just reaffirmed the importance of retaining this wonderful asset which I’m proud is in the Pullenvale Ward, for all residents of Brisbane to enjoy. And I’m equally proud to be part of an administration that continues to support it to the extent I’ve just outlined.

Mr. Chair, in the time remaining, I would like to talk about important projects in the program 3 budget for my local area.

After the devastating bushfires of last summer, this Lord Mayor is committed to investing in constructing fire breaks on newly acquired land at Kholo.

This Schrinner Administration is committed continue to Wipe out Weeds and maintain our ‘Australia’s most biodiverse city’ title. Mt Coot-tha reserve is one of the many reserves that will benefit for this program. In total, there 4,000 hectares or 40% of our reserve estate has been managed through this program. 

In the last term this Administration purchased land on Priors Pocket Road through the Bushland Acquisition Program and the Green Future Fund. 

This unique parcel of land is protected for the residents of Brisbane.  In the budget this year, the Lord Mayor has committed future funds through the Green Future Fund to complete site investigations and preliminary planning to enable future community use of this site.

Our youngest residents of Bellbowrie will also be excited to learn that there are two playgrounds being upgraded.  One in Pioneer Crescent Park and the other in Considen Place Park.  We are investing over $300,000 in bringing them up to standard and I look forward to discussing these improvements with the Parents and kids in the neighbourhoods of these local parks. 

Finally, funding for Karana Downs waterway rehabilitation reduce future erosion and flooding. This project will undertake natural waterway rehabilitation and construct drains along properties that back onto the Brisbane River on Illawong Way.

Improving waterway health, quality and sustainability will help us achieve a healthy Brisbane River and Moreton Bay.

This administration is dedicated to ensuring Brisbane remains clean, green and sustainable, now and into the future, and part of this commitment is protecting our conservation reserves and waterways.

These outcomes are not only terrific for residents, but also for the environment and I commend Program 3 budget.  Thank you.