COMMUNITY OUTRAGE: Stanthorpe residents have responded to the $47M proposal for the Botanical Gardens.
COMMUNITY OUTRAGE: Stanthorpe residents have responded to the $47M proposal for the Botanical Gardens.

OUTRAGE: Councillor weighs in on $47m Botanical Gardens project

PLANS for the Stanthorpe Botanical Gardens have divided the community, with many disapproving of the proposed $47,000,000 project.

A masterplan for the 38-hectare, eight-stage gardens was unveiled by the SDRC in this week’s ordinary council meeting, where councillors voted to put the development out to community consultation to gauge sentiment for the project.

Granite Belt residents were quick to share their frustration on social media, with more than 30 comments on the Border Post’s Facebook page.

For Stanthorpe resident Terri McMeniman, the region’s ongoing water crisis should be prioritised over the gardens.

It was a sentiment fellow resident Troy Dunn was eager to echo.

“How about spending the money on water security first. It’s currently costing $800,000 a month carting water,” Mr Dunn posted.

While some were quick to dismiss the gardens, others were eager to offer alternatives to how the money could be better spent in the community.

“It would be lovely to have but for that amount of money, we could get so much more! How about a smaller beautiful garden, better kids’ playgrounds, a bike park and a hugely upgraded skatepark,” Natasha Austin said.

Plans for Stanthorpe Botanical Gardens.
Plans for Stanthorpe Botanical Gardens.

The community’s response is one that didn’t shock councillor Andrew Gale.

“I’m not surprised by the level of concern that I’ve seen from the community,” Cr Gale said.

“I understand the passion (of the proponents) and I think it would be a beautiful project but as Cr (Stephen) Tancred said, it’s about prioritising wants and needs.

“$47M is more than our capital works budget … it’s still a heck of a lot of money for a want.”

Council will commence an eight-week community consultation, which Cr Gale was eager to encourage the community to become involved in.

“I really encourage people to participate in that consultation process so we can make a decision that is reflective of what the community decides,” he said.

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