Concept for park revealed

By John Cousins

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The concept plan for the Sydenham Botanic Park next to the Brookfield Primary School. Image/supplied
The concept plan for the Sydenham Botanic Park next to the Brookfield Primary School. Image/supplied

A lanscape concept plan has been unveiled for Tauranga's unofficial botanical gardens in Brookfield featuring a mix of lawns, paths and theme plantings.

The Sydenham Botanical Park in Millers Rd was already home to an internationally recognised collection of the primitive Gondwana ancestry araucaria trees of which the New Zealand kauri was the most southern species.

Progress with establishing the botanical park was outlined to the Tauranga City Council yesterday by Brian Hodge, a member of the Sydenham Park Advisory Group.

The 3-hectare property owned by the New Zealand Guardian Trust was bequeathed by the late Frank Sydenham to be developed into a botanic park.

Mr Hodge said the park would become an urban oasis for people to stroll through. The concept plan was a simplified version of the original 2006 plan that fitted the ability of volunteers. A big task for volunteers would be tidying the lower southern area of the park where the swampy terrain would be developed into a pond ringed by native plantings.

Mr Hodge said they were in the process of installing benches and seats. A small carpark was planned for the north-western end of the park next to Brookfield Primary School.

Tauranga City Council paid $20,000 a year to maintain the park but has left the big job of establishing and funding the gardens in the hands of volunteers. A Sydenham Botanic Park Funding Trust was also established in 2012.

Before the death of Mr Sydenham in 1973, the land was used as gardens for farm and horticultural cadets and secondary school students who studied the propagation of subtropical plants. Bay of Plenty Polytechnic students later trained there and when it was no longer required for educational purposes it was passed to the council to develop a botanic park "for the enjoyment and benefit of the citizens of Tauranga".

- Bay of Plenty Times

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