The sign along University Way announcing the future expansion of the David Douglas Botanical Garden has been in place since last summer. For Linda Naess, that future is now. All she needs is $ 2.
The sign along University Way announcing the future expansion of the David Douglas Botanical Garden has been in place since last summer.
For Linda Naess, that future is now. All she needs is $ 2.7 million to realize this dream and construction could begin tomorrow.
Plans for the next three phases of the garden project were unveiled at the city council meeting on Monday evening, but for now, the president of the David Douglas Botanical Society is focused on raising the funds needed to complete phase 2 from the botanical garden.
“It’s a huge business and our gardeners are ready to plant this spring unfortunately the land is not ready but they are ready to go, that’s how excited we are,” Naess said. “The sign has created a lot of awareness. It’s going to take money, so we are looking for donors and we are looking for grants and we will fundraise from our members.
“It’s good for us because we love to garden and it’s good for the university and they are very excited about it – and we talked to President (Daniel) Weeks about it – because it will bring the community to the university. . It is also a place of well-being for people.
Some of the features of the Phase 2 expansion include themed gardens that would include a wide walkway with arches, a lookout post, a treehouse, a green wall made of living plants, sculptures, gazebos and a maze made of hedge shrubs. During the spring runoff, Shane Creek passes through the site and tall trees form native forest on the south side of the property. A First Nations garden that would include elements of water and fire, a medicinal garden, a pavilion of purification and indigenous art is also included in the plan, as is a 3,000-foot visitor information center. squares.
A research garden to test fruits and vegetables suitable for northern climates is also in the plan for Phase 2 as well as a community garden for UNBC students, with potential for a solar-heated greenhouse. Ornamental and seasonal lighting will bring people to the garden at night and to celebrate special events like Halloween and Christmas, similar to the decorative holiday displays at Connaught Hill Park and the Central BC Railway and Forestry Museum.
Phases 3 and 4 would develop ornamental thematic gardens, marsh and pond, fed by Shane Creek; selective clearing of the forest to allow the planting of shade-tolerant plants; and the expansion of research gardens. The visitor center would be expanded to include banquet rooms, a solarium and a café.
Jay Lazzarin, retired landscape architect and member of the David Douglas Society, in his presentation to the board, gave an overview of what the $ 5.9 million four-phase botanical garden will look like, illustrated by a video overview Conceptual drone of the 23-acre, land-based UNBC company donated just west of the Charles Jago Northern Sport Center. The company will consult with stakeholders such as the city and UNBC and survey user groups for their thoughts on what they would like to see in the garden. For tourists and residents, there is enormous potential to make the botanical garden and attract attention.
“We believe that the David Douglas Botanical Garden will inspire visitors and improve the quality of life in our community and that the garden will become a source of precious pride,” said Lazzarin. “We would like to incorporate features that will make the garden as interactive as possible, for repeated use. As the garden matures and grows, we hope this will be an item on the list that all visitors should see. “
Com. Susan Scott said one of the healthiest aspects of being a student at UNBC is the location, which provides extensive access to the area’s recreational trails, and she said the garden would only improve. this experience.
“The resulting creativity and inclusion of First Nations and the ornamental garden, which could be so fascinating to explore,” Scott said. “It’s organic to the life of the university and the health of our community. I think it will really help tourism. It could be an attraction all year round.
Construction on phase 1 of the garden project, between the two east parking lots of the university, began in 2002 and was completed in 2018. The company raised $ 1.1 million for the $ 2.6 project. acres, a series of exhibition gardens with a bridge and a characteristic waterfall connected by a walkway that leads to the Rotary Pavilion. The garden is a gathering place during the warmer months, used to draw crowds at lunchtime at UNBC, for wedding / graduation backdrops, and to host the company’s annual plant sale , which has helped inspire gardening enthusiasts.
Com. Brian Skakun said the city will do everything it can to point society in the right direction to access grants and influence those with that authority.
Unlike the original garden which was built and is maintained by volunteers, Lazzarin said Phase 2 will require full-time paid staff to operate the visitor center, maintain the grounds and maintain the scientific research plots.
Among the possible sources of income discussed on Monday were benches, commemorative plaques and paving stones engraved with the names of sponsors along the paths leading to ornamental gardens, rental of conference rooms, wedding receptions and potential income. of operating a zipline through the surrounding forest, which could complete an aerial cableway located high in the trees.
“We talked about a zip line, it’s a possibility because there are some old trees across there,” Naess said. “You want it interactive and you want it to be a place where people will come and do things and can bring their kids. Not everyone wants to look at the beautiful flowers.
The company is targeting Phase 2 as a two-year project to be completed in 2022. Construction of Phase 3, which is expected to cost $ 1.74 million, is expected to be completed between 2024 and 2026. Phase 4, at 1 , $ 29 million, will take another two years to be completed in 2028.
“I think that can be part of the package that we deliver to try to attract events to the city and the botanical garden is part of that,” said Mayor Lyn Hall. “It puts Prince George on a different level when we promote the city. It is a part of the city that we need.
The company, which was formed in 1991, plans to step up its campaign to sell annual memberships to the public through its website, ddbotgarden.bc.ca. Dues are $ 35 (family), $ 25 (seniors) and $ 20 (students).