The National Botanic Gardens (Lae) Advancement Program, to be delivered over a five to ten year timeframe, aims to strengthen the operations of the current Gardens and deliver new initiatives to enhance Papua New Guinea’s and the broader Morobe Province’s capacity in natural resource management and showcase these natural assets to the world.
The Program’s objectives are:
- To improve public use of the National Botanic Gardens (LAE) through upgraded public grounds, infrastructure and security facilities;
- To deliver education programs, providing knowledge to current and future generations about the importance of PNG’s natural assets for cultural, economic, environmental and social purposes;
- To improve the sustainability of the National Botanic Gardens, providing services to strengthen the economic livelihoods of current and future generations.
To achieve the deliverables of this program at a minimum the high level requirements include:
- Effective governance and delivery structures established.
- Improved security and infrastructure of the National Botanical Gardens (LAE)
- Appropriate access to resources.
The advancement program builds on current strengths and new opportunities with the aim of re-opening the Gardens to the Lae residents and visitors for their usage – recreational, educational, research and enjoyment. The program will revive one of Lae’s most important and valued assets and help to restore Lae’s reputation as “The Garden City” by allowing visitors to interact with the natural environment within the Botanic Gardens, a much-needed safe and well kept public space.
Furthermore, the program has and will prioritise areas that need maintenance and repairs and make improvements to current infrastructure within the gardens. The security will also be improved especially the repairs made to the perimeter fence and gaps in the drainage systems.
The program has created astounding community participation where interested stakeholders (businesses, NGOs, Governments, Community Groups etc.) are working together to bring about these developments in the Botanic Gardens.
The Forest Research Institute (FRI) team is accustomed to engaging and working with partners to develop the grounds of the NBGL and provide services. For example through a partnership with the Bank of the South Pacific, a recreational playground offering play facilities to the general public has been constructed on the grounds in 2014.
The team has also engaged with development organisations to assist the delivery of programs, events and initiatives including the Friends of the Lae Botanic Gardens who contribute to the planning and development of the botanic gardens.
Through increasing interest and momentum building, it is easy to see why businesses and interested stakeholders are eager to be involved in the Advancement Program. Businesses have come on board in a variety of capacities from hands on work to the supply of necessary infrastructure and equipment.
Support by businesses provided during 2015 includes:
- Fixing of essential infrastructure. To show their support Northbuild PNG Limited have restored the existing toilet block, Dulux Group have assisted in cleaning and re-painting existing picnic facilities, guard house and toilet roof and will also assist in re-painting the plane. Dekenai Constructions Ltd have made major improvements to all roads within the gardens, created new car park areas and assisted with supply of equipment, gravel and labour to help fix a decaying bridge. PNG Forest Products Ltd has supplied all treated pine materials to fix the bridge and make the gardens safe for use of vehicles. Consort Express Ltd has upgraded parts of the perimeter fence.
- Building the capacity of workers through the supply of necessary tools, safety equipment and uniforms by Bishops, Hila Holdings Limited, Farmset Limited and, KK Kingston Ltd, Brian Bell and Company Limited, Lae Builders and private donors;
- Upgrading security, PNG Power have agreed to help trim up the Branches along Milford Haven Road to ensure branches do not continue to fall on the Security Fence.
- Supply of new gardens concepts, whereby Swire Shipping have engaged a world class design company to design five internationally accredited Gardens for the Northern Precinct. Swire shipping has been a long-term partner, offering logistical support and funding throughout the program.
- On ground participation and team building days whereby Nestlé hosted a Community and Safety team building day involving more than 280 staff members to help clean up the grounds. Whilst Laga Industries (Gala Ice Cream) had an employee community day with over 300 staff cleaning and helping through the gardens with a dedicated group also volunteering to wash down the RAAF DC-3 Plane, they also provided free ice cream during our Open Day.
- Communications and event support including ongoing assistance from Lae Chamber of Commerce and Industries. Through their newsletter and connection to the business community, CTL Signs for new signage within the gardens, Andersons Foodland and the Rotary Club of Lae have provided event support with food and refreshments for the Open Day on November 6th, 2015.
- Robert McIntyre, Brisbane-based web designer has generously built and managed this website free of charge. You can view more of his work here.
There is plenty more to be done in the gardens and as such, we are always looking for more support to fulfill all the requirements of the Advancement Program, including upgrading the fence, establishing a resource and visitor management centre, installing more ablutions blocks, upgrading parking facilities, staircase to upper garden area, restoring pathways and picnic area facilities and restoring the ever-popular RAAF DC-3 plane.
Situated right in the heart of Lae City, these magnificent natural Botanic Gardens are a vital public space that helps to educate people, promote conservation and tourism, provide enjoyment and protect our natural environment.
These gardens are a true treasure of PNG and it is important to support and enhance this symbiotic relationship between humans and the natural environment by looking after this natural asset of Lae.