Do you agree with the proposed changes to the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden as part of the current review of the existing Masterplan?

Now Closed

This online engagement was hosted on YourSAy from 10 December 2019 to 14 February 2020. Find out more about the consultation process. Below is a record of the engagement.

We are looking for your feedback on a number of ideas that we believe will enhance the experience and amenities for visitors to the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.

Your views will help inform whether or not these concepts are included in the revision of the current Masterplan for the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.

Read more about the proposed changes and view a map showing potential locations and submit your comment below.

Please note: Your submissions and survey responses will be made publicly available in full on the Department for Environment and Water’s website unless you indicate on the submission or survey that you wish for these to remain confidential. Please also note that any responses that are made on a confidential basis may still be subject to access under Freedom of Information laws.

Comments closed

Mick Lorenz

13 Feb 2020

Hello, as a neighbour I was very pleased to be invited to hear about your masterplan review and I congratulate you for reaching out to the local community.
Much of the discussion on the night was to do with the siting of the proposed new horticultural and conservation hub and concerns about the visual impact of the structure and carpark. It seems to me that the location of the site makes sense and that it could be designed in such a way as to minimise negative visual impact. I also strongly support the concept of using the site as a learning centre and welcome the increased engagement such a facility would generate. Having said this, should funding become available, I know the community would welcome an early opportunity to comment on concept plans before any commitments are made.
I also noted that you suggested that it’s unlikely that any investment will be made in further developing the O’Leary land in the short to medium term due to other priorities for your limited resources. This leaves a valuable community asset unutilised and at times a fire risk. Can I encourage you to consider how you could work with the community, local government and tourism interests to leverage immediate benefits from this asset without compromising (and hopefully supporting) the Garden’s long-term objectives. Potential compatible uses may include community gardens, parklands, walking trails, harvesting the existing walnuts and chestnuts or limited use by livestock. Providing a more diverse range of uses may also broaden the relevance of the Garden to some parts of the community and reconnect them to the wonderful free resource that they have on their doorstep.
As a final note, I don’t see the need for the Gardens to provide for the more active uses such as mountain bikes, orienteering, geocaching or zip line. The Hills are already well served for these and to me, provision of these within the Gardens may undermine the core value the Gardens are here to provide.

Anthony Coles

07 Feb 2020

Hi
I'm a former local, Permie, and active Adelaide Hills promoter supporting of improvements to grow Trade (Tourism, F&B) and Investment.
Is this proposal being considered within any broader regional State Govt inter-connected Visitor Economy plan?
Many a discussion re cable cars and Tourism infrastructure up and over Mt Lofty.
And I concur with Rod's comments about linking in with existing service providers who have invested heavily in promoting the Region over the years.
I am familiar with the land to the East of the Botanical Gardens site, extending to Lampert & Piccadilly Road which is a key head point for catchment input into Cox Creek next to which the carpark and Horticultural Conservation hub are proposed.
I concur with Rod re integration with other businesses in the area to the East, but also including your own (DEW) Mt Lofty Summit and Cleland CP assets up over the Hill to the West.
This is a wonderful initiative of the Gardens, and it is always interesting to see Government Department's balance commercial cost-recovery drivers.
However this opportunity to 'Enhance the Gardens' needs to be done not in isolation of the broader Adelaide Hills, and even Adelaide CBD Visitor Economy eco-system.
Visitors need a reason to visit, (eg: themed region/ hero destination asset), a means to get there, (this looks all very CAR-focussed), what of bus access?, Bikes, Electric Vehicle recharging infrastructure?).
And the destination needs to be PART of something.
The Botanic Gardens original purpose, funding, land acquisition, development and maintenance had its meaning birthed in its strong Anglo origins.
Maybe this is a UNIQUE opportunity to involve the Traditional Owners (Peramangk/ Kaurna) also to nurture the re-introduction of some Indigenous Wisdom and rebalance the role of the Gardens as PLACE to heal.
Bottom line, Zoom In yes, to define what the Gardens needs to do.
But Zoom Out, to see what the Place (Gardens, Adelaide Hills, Cox Creek Catchment, Adelaide, Australia, Earth) needs, and what the AHBG could be known for, Nationally, and Internationally...

Chris West

06 Feb 2020

I’m a local resident, frequent visitor and strong supporter of science-based conservation, education and native ecology. These proposals are excellent and, frankly, long overdue! I hope the budget allocations and timeframes are going to be surprisingly generous and rapid.... Noting the need to collaborate where possible with existing enterprises, I wonder if there is scope to integrate aspects of infrastructure, education, community engagement, transport, fire-management with Cleland and Mt Lofty Lookout?

Government Agency

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium > Chris West

06 Feb 2020

Hi Chris, thanks so much for your feedback and suggestions. The master planning process considers both the specific long term Botanic Garden’s needs, but also the role and contribution the Gardens can make to and for the wider Mount Lofty Hill precinct. For instance, the Masterplan will advocate for a more effective connecting transport service between key tourist destinations in the Adelaide Hills, including Cleland Wildlife Park and Mount Lofty Summit.

I hope this has answered your question. Thanks again!

Pauline Gill

04 Feb 2020

I think it is long overdue to upgrade the walking paths and better signage would assist in getting around. Increased car parking is essential and should include places for buses. The changes that are being proposed in the masterplan are needed to keep the garden up to date especially with better access for disabled and prams / strollers. A permanent place to purchase refreshments would be ideal and some more toilets throughout the garden.

Government Agency

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium > Pauline Gill

05 Feb 2020

Hello Pauline, thank you for your feedback. Best wishes from the BGSH team.

Christine Braham

28 Jan 2020

I am a an individual who has enjoyed many visits to the Mt Lofty Botanic Gardens for walks on my own and with family groups and friends, my bushwalking group, school groups, interstate and international visitors.
Will there be a lookout area over the Piccadilly Valley as there once was. It was a great disappointment to me on a number of occasions to find access to the old lookout platform which gave magnificent views had been blocked off.
Will the current magnificent camellia and rhododendron gardens and fields of bulbs be retained or even expanded? They are a highlight of the gardens during the flowering periods.
Will the gardens remain free. Essential!!!! It provides equal access for all.
The gardens should not have areas that are exclude the public for commercial activities.
Will the gardens retain a strong research and scientific base? Vital to further our understanding.
Will there be an expansion of picnic or grassed areas for small groups?
Will there be an expansion of staff to care for and maintain an expanded garden?
Will the plan incorporate strategies to ensure the gardens have adequate protection in the event of bushfires?
No land should be sold off or given away.

Government Agency

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium > Christine Braham

03 Feb 2020

Hi Christine, we're delighted that you are enjoying Mount Lofty Botanic Garden and are introducing it to visitors from near and far.
Thank you for your feedback and suggestions. At this stage, we are seeking feedback from the community on what they would like to see in Mount Lofty Botanic Garden. When the engagement period is over and the Masterplan has been completed in consideration of this feedback, we will be able to share the final, confirmed plans with the community on what will happen at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.
However, in answer to some of your questions:
- Yes, a different viewing area will be established in future, subject to funding.
- The camellia and rhododendron collections will most likely be expanded in future, however this Masterplan focuses on buildings, roads, signage, access etc. Plant collections are managed by different policies and plans as they are scientific collections.
- No entrance fee is being considered as part of this Masterplan review.
- The gardens will absolutely retain strong research and scientific activities.
- An expansion of picnic areas is being considered as part of the plan.
- An expansion of staff is subject to funding.
- The Department for Environment and Heritage support bushfire prevention grounds work and provide expert advice to the botanic gardens on bushfire planning and response, and there are fire suppression sprinklers on main buildings. The Masterplan does not provide detail on activities such as bushfire response but it does reference the need to plan and design for bushfires.
- No land sales of the developed botanic gardens site is being proposed as part of this Masterplan review.
We hope that has answered your questions.
Best wishes.

Rod Quintrell

21 Jan 2020

Hi there, My Name is Rod and i work with Venture Corporate Recharge.

We run the excellent Mt Lofty Adventure Hub, on the fab Woodhouse Activity Centre, 500m from you. We are South Australian owned and operated, and 30 years old this year. While our purpose built adventure ropes facility is designed for group experiential learning, it does contain SA's first challenge ropes course, and SA's longest zipline, amongst other attractions. (And the parking is a breeze).

We are very concerned you are to push ahead and develop the site to include private adventure activities, despite dropping your secret plans to do so this year.. is this still on scope? Your survey asks about this. Can you please let us know your plans? your survey and published plans are vague on this.

We are running our Climb, Zip Abseil experiences each weekend and on public holidays. As always, we would love for you to come and visit and find ways to work together as part of the greater Mt Lofty precinct.

Government Agency

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium > Rod Quintrell

24 Jan 2020

Hi Rob, thank you for your feedback. At this early stage, no plans have been cemented. The survey is seeking feedback and comment from the community on several types of suggested possible activation activities to enable us to understand community expectations and views.

We are encouraging our community to let us know if there are any forms of activities that are to be encouraged, or are not to be supported, and the reasons why. This will assist with future activation planning for the botanic garden. We are always looking for ways to work with and engage our community. The survey results and comments will provide some much needed insight.

We appreciate you taking the time to provide your comments and I hope this has provided some clarity.

Rod Quintrell > Rod Quintrell

05 Feb 2020

Hi there,

Thanks for your reply. There were extensive and secret plans to allow a private operator to develop adventure activities in 2019, that was only rejected after an internal review found probity issues around this process. For clarity i have documentation if you cannot access it. The redacted FOI request makes for depressing reading.

Should you want to change the remit and purpose of the gardens, should this not be done in a far more overt way?

I do request, on behalf of business operators in the area, and the Gardens owners, that is the taxpayer, that clear and honest communication is put forward from here on.

I do not like having to take the Botanic Gardens on all of the time.

Can you please release stage 2 of your proposed plan for consultation that was commissioned in 2018? This outlines your plans for privatisation and change of scope of activities.

Many thanks Rod

Deb Anderson

25 Dec 2019

The Mt Lofty Gardens need more signage. I often spend 40 mins trying to find the right path to get back to my car at the top. It's exhausting!

Government Agency

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium > Deb Anderson

30 Dec 2019

Hi Deb, thank you for your feedback. Improved way-finding and signage is included in the plans as we know this is a problem at the moment. Thank you.

Don Grinsted

21 Dec 2019

As part of a publicity plan there needs to be far better advice available on the net and a phone help line about closures on fire bans and other days. This would avoid the frustration of traveling hours only to find the park closed.

Government Agency

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium > Don Grinsted

23 Dec 2019

Hi Don,

Thank you for your feedback. When there is a severe, extreme or catastrophic fire danger rating issued by the Bureau of Meteorology, we close Mount Lofty Botanic Garden.

We always state closures on our website at https://www.botanicgardens.sa.gov.au. However, your email has prompted us to trial highlighting this more obviously for people using their mobile phone to access the website, so thank you for bringing this to our attention.

We also post about closures on the Mount Lofty Botanic Garden Facebook page, and on our Twitter Page, and we update the opening hours on Google to say the garden is closed.

Unfortunately we can't do any of this until 4.30pm the day before the closure because we are guided by the BOM fire warnings issued, which is usually at that time.

Visitors are welcome to call us on 8222 9311 during business hours to find out about closures. We also give closure information to the Adelaide Hills Visitor Centre.

Is there another way you think we could spread the word?

Thanks!

Melissa Louey

10 Dec 2019

I am a local and love to visit Mt Lofty Botanic Garden. Although I love the tranquility and beauty of the gardens as they are, I am very aware that it is very popular with tourists and locals, alike and they need to be adequately catered for also.

I am also an avid gardener and believe that gardens have so much to offer and should be shared and highly valued and by allowing people to explore (within safe boundaries), they will also come to appreciate the importance of this valuable place.

I think the proposal sounds fantastic as I have been waiting for a cafe to open for many years at Mount Lofty Botanic Garden! Increased parking is definitely needed for weekends and I love the thought that the garden will offer a place for people to learn more about plants and plant diversity.

Thank you.

Government Agency

Botanic Gardens and State Herbarium > Melissa Louey

12 Dec 2019

Hi Melissa. Firstly, it's great to hear that you're a regular visitor to our gardens. We agree that Mount Lofty is particularly tranquil.

Thank you so much for taking the time to provide your insights and feedback. We really appreciate you getting involved in the discussion.