Editor’s Note: The December issue of the Summit included an article about the Botanical Garden proposed for the Central Experimental Farm. Some readers (including me) subsequently misinterpreted a reference in the article, and a correction was printed in January. The following clarification has since been solicited and received from the Garden Society, and also addresses concerns expressed by some about the commercial aspects of the development.
Your readers have raised two issues of concern about the recent article on the proposed botanic garden at the Central Experimental Farm. The first concern relates to the statement â€śwe are left with a few rose bushes somewhere in the grass east of the large barn on Prince of Walesâ€ť, which has been misinterpreted by some as criticism of the present Ornamental Garden which is on the west side of the road. The reference in the article relates to an entirely different garden that was located on the east side of Prince of Wales. A brief history is as follows: Agriculture Canada proposed celebrating the 1967 Centennial by constructing a botanic garden. Buildings, greenhouses and a large rose garden were in the plans for the field south of the large barn to the east of Prince of Wales. Individuals who participated in the initial construction have told me that a few of the original rose bushes are still to be found in that field.
The second concern is a belief that our proposal is a commercial development. This is far from the truth. The Society has been formed and funded by local citizens concerned about the future of the Farm. The Society was established to respond to the Minister's call for proposals for the long-term use and management of the non-research areas of the Farm. Everyone is a volunteer and the proposal was written by professionals who contributed their time. The content of the proposal has been discussed at well over one hundred public meetings. Entry fees will be charged for some parts of the garden but not for the arboretum that is presently free to the public. Why charge entry at all? The department has made it quite clear that it wants any proposal to be financially viable and not to be supported by government funding. Just as the national museums and the Gatineau Park now charge entry fees to support the services they provide to the public, so must the garden. As the Society is established as a non-profit charity, all the funds will flow back into running the garden, school programmes, evening class activities, research, etc. All to the benefit of the local community.
Ian E. Efford, President.