The ACT Government have announced the allocation of $500,000 for a major upgrade to Fetherston Gardens. The Southside Chronicle article, together with the Government’s media release and the WCCC letter thanking the Chief Minister for this most welcome funding for revitalising this community site follow:
Garden’s long waited grant a major boost
Situated in Weston Creek, the Gardens were opened in 1974 as part of the former CIT School of Horticulture.
It consisted of a well-established arboretum, woodlands garden and an enclosed “secret garden” that contains more than 200 trees including a variety of unusual species.
Friends of Fetherston Gardens convener Trevor Wilson said they were absolutely delighted with the funding.
“It’s a great surprise. but a very pleasing surprise, ” Mr Wilson said. “We were worried that there wouldn’t be a strong commitment to invest in the infrastructure the garden needs to be reopened.”
The Gardens are named after the first and longest serving head of the school, Tony Fetherston.
In November 2008, the ACT Government announced the former classroom building of the CIT campus would he retained for use by the Islamic School or Canberra and Fetherston Gardens restored as a community park.
Mr Wilson said landscaping work, installing pathways and a public toilet along with a new irrigation system would be some of the priorities where money would be spent.
In the past few years the Weston Creek Community Council has also been proactive in co-ordinating regular volunteer working bees to remove weeds and maintain the garden beds.
Friends of Fetherston Gardens working bee coordinator Lesley Pattinson said they had tried to preserve the gardens while discussions about plans for their future took place.
She said now they had the money they would like to get work started this year and have events in at least some parts of the gardens opened for the centenary next year.
Chief Minister Katy Gallagher said funding followed $50,000 allocated to the development of a concept plan to identify opportunities for the future development of Fetherston Gardens.
“The concept plan for Fetherston Gardens has been developed following extensive stakeholder and community consultation,” Ms Gallagher said.
“I have been lucky enough to have visited Fetherston Gardens, it is a magical place and should be shared with the community. This funding will help to restore The Fetherston Gardens as a community space where people can gather with family and fiends.”
Labor candidate Angie Drake. who has been lobbying hard for the gardens, said the funding would he extremely welcome by the local community.
She said they had held working bees on a regular basis every month in order to restore these wonderful gardens to their former glory.
By Mark Sawa – Southside Chronicle 12 June 2012