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There are some certain facts that need to be known in relation to the Botanical Gardens planned for Russell Island.

The concept has been in the planning stages for some time, and there was no point in publicising the plan until it became a distinct possibility.

The reasoning for the Gardens was to provide the islands with a ‘known tourist destination’.

Unlike big neighbour North Stradbroke Island, the smaller Southern Bay Islands are not recognised as ‘tourist destinations’.

Straddie has its wonderful surfing beaches and other natural wonders, whilst Coochiemudlo Island happens to have a beach-lined border. Both are attractions for visitors.

Not so the other four islands, even though there are some very pretty parts to enjoy.

By developing Botanical Gardens and walking and biking trails, Russell Island will have the potential to become a known tourist attraction.

Visitation by garden and walking and biking groups could result in changes in the island demographic.

The land chosen is on property that is actually owned by the Department of Education Queensland.

The area was originally destined to be the site for a future High School for the islands.

It was known, however, that Education Queensland and both sides of politics shelved that concept years ago.

The land also happened to be one of the ‘prettiest’ areas on the island, adjacent to some pretty spectacular facilities including the island Resilience Centre with full amenities attached.

The land also didn’t deserve to become a ‘concrete jungle’; there were plenty of other less picturesque areas that are more suitable.

Approaches to the Department of Education Queensland were made and the concept was greeted with positivity and, eventual agreement.

What is not known is that the land in question will CONTINUE to remain the property of Education Queensland.

To allow the Botanical Gardens to be developed, Education Queensland have offered the land to Redland City Council for the purpose of the gardens, with council acting only as a trustee on EQ’s behalf.

Education Queensland will continue to own the land and have the ‘final say’ over its uses.

The Botanical Gardens concept is NOT a council project and major Council funding will not be involved.

This is entirely a community effort driven by island residents, the Bay Islands Conservation group and supported by your Friendly Bay Islander.

We have done so because we see an overall positive environmental and social impact from its development.

Funding will be sought from various areas. All areas of Government and corporate will be approached to seek funding and grants.

It is expected island ‘volunteers’ and donations from islanders and island businesses will also be an important part of the plan.

The Botanical Gardens will not have an adverse affect on any areas of regular funding involving roads or any other areas of island infrastructure.

We would like you to comment and give support to the Botanical Garden concept.

Please go to the Friendly Bay Islander website and CLICK ON the PINK SURVEY DOT!