A donation worth $50,000 from Flinders Power has helped the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden upgrade its award-winning facility.
The money has been put towards three drinking fountains and four table-and-chair settings in the new picnic shelter area, as well as upgrading sections of the boundary fence.
Flinders Power CEO Peter Georgaris said the donation is a practical way to give back to the community.
“We recognise the important role the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden plays in terms of plant preservation and education and as a contributor to the local economy,” he said.
“We hope our support will further increase its appeal to local, national and international visitors, resulting in more economic growth and development in and around Port Augusta.”
Arid Lands has become one of Port Augusta’s most popular tourist attractions, welcoming nearly 107,000 visitors this year and bringing an estimated $18 million into the city.
The 250-hectare garden was rewarded for its popularity at the 2018 South Australian Tourism Awards, taking home bronze in the Ecotourism category.
Arid Lands has collected six awards – one gold, three silver and two bronze – in multiple categories at the Tourism Awards since 2014.
One of the major driving forces behind the success of the Arid Lands has been the support from volunteer group Friends of the Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden.
Friends Vice President Brian Reichelt said Flinders Power’s donation recognises the Arid Lands’ important role in the community.
He highlighted the garden’s attractions, including the children’s nature play area, picnic area, cafe and multiple walking trails.
“The garden is recognised worldwide as playing an important role in the preservation of arid zone plant species and teaching both locals and tourists about the value of these plants to our environment,” Mr Reichelt said.
“We very much welcome this support from Flinders Power and all support that allows us to continue this work.”
The new facilities have been installed and are ready for use, while the fence work is under way.
The Australian Arid Lands Botanic Garden, established in 1996, is owned by the Port Augusta City Council.
The garden has received widespread praise for its rare plant species, with sections dedicated to particular regions of Australia, including the Flinders Ranges, Eyre Peninsula, Central Ranges, the Gawler region and the Great Victoria Desert.