MAJOR ASSET: Mayor Tony Wellington and project manager Dennis Luistra in the new $400,000 shade house area.
MAJOR ASSET: Mayor Tony Wellington and project manager Dennis Luistra in the new $400,000 shade house area.

Noosa Botanic Gardens now have it made in the shade

IT HAS taken many months for Dennis Luistra to pull off one of Noosa’s shadiest deals.

And he’s pretty happy with the result.

Last October, Noosa Council project manager Dennis began the task of replacing the 30-odd-year-old shade area at Noosa Botanic Gardens, which had been closed to the public for many years due to its detrimental state.

On Thursday, Mr Luistra was joined by Mayor Tony Wellington and councillors, Seqwater staff and members of the Friends of Noosa Botanic Gardens and Noosa and District Orchid and Foliage Society to celebrate the opening of the new area.

This eye-catching asset is now fully equipped with $400,000 worth of new shade cloth-covered gardens, with a breathtaking layout and design for all to enjoy and contemplate.

Seqwater chipped in half the amount for the work as good neighbours, being the managers of the neighbouring Lake Macdonald, while council funded the remainder from capital works.

“As most will know the old structure one suffered rust and was basically condemned,” Cr Wellington said.

“And this being Noosa, it’s no ordinary shade house.

“We’ve moved away from the type that make you feel as though you’re entering a cage for animals and instead we’ve come up with a design that’s airy and acknowledges the surroundings in which its placed.”

The challenge for Mr Luistra and his team was to find a way of replacing the shade without removing many of the plants, which included a large offspring of the king fern that featured in Brisbane Expo 88, the mayor said, “so it had to take place during winter so the sun was low and plants left in place didn’t get burned”.

Seqwater external relations manager Mike Foster said 30-plus years ago “a former bird aviary was picked up and became the shade area, but this is brand new for the gardens”.

Mr Luistra said “I’m very happy; its beautiful, now we can have it open for the public”.

Cr Wellington said project this was a collaborative effort with council’s infrastructure team leading the design and construction, our Botanic Garden staff looking after landscaping and assistance from many volunteers,”

“These volunteers not only give their time and skills to keep the gardens looking great, but also donate a lot of the rare and unusual plants that we see here today.”

Lois Walters from the Noosa and District Orchid and Foliage Society is one of the members who volunteers her time to work in the shade garden.

“Once a month myself and other volunteers come in here and help with pruning, weeding and general maintenance of the gardens,” Ms Walters said.

“After we have done our work, we get a real sense of satisfaction that we have done something for the community as well as ourselves.

“It’s been lovely to watch the shade garden come to life.”

Seqwater CEO Neil Brennan said the funding from Seqwater was part of the bulk water authority’s commitment to working with Noosa Council and the local community.

“This project followed a transfer of land from Seqwater to council to expand the size of the gardens,” Mr Brennan said.

“Work at the gardens precedes Seqwater’s upgrade at Lake Macdonald, which will ensure the dam’s ongoing safe operation and its role as a critical water supply and recreation area for the community of Noosa.”

“The shade house development will no doubt provide a boost for the gardens, which already draws 70,000 visitors each year.”

Noosa Botanic Gardens co-ordinator Jacky Kelk said: “While the old shade house was closed to the public, it still provided vital shade for some important plant species.”

“The design of the new shade garden, which sees shade sails overlapping at different parts, provides different variations of shade and light.

“This allows a greater variety of plants, including orchids, rainforest and other shade-loving plants, to be cultivated”.

“The shade garden is a wonderful addition to the Noosa Botanic Gardens and I encourage the community to come and enjoy this new facility,” Ms Kelk said.

Seqwater and Noosa Council each provided half the costs of the new Shade Garden.