Two aeration fountains have been ordered as part of the first phase of lakeside improvements at the popular Botanic Gardens in Churchtown in Southport.
A new mural will also be created at the historic park.
The installation of the new aeration systems will cost £8,500. These costs will be covered by recent fundraising efforts from the Make a Change for Ben campaign group which has donated its funds raised to date to the Botanic Gardens Community Association, a long-standing voluntary group overseeing maintenance and activities at the attraction.
The campaign was launched after the tragic death of local man Ben Smith-Crallan, who died, aged 37, after falling into the lake at the Botanic Gardens.
The work will be overseen by Sefton Council.
At the end of August, Sefton Council met with members of the two groups and outlined ideas for up to £30,000 in improvements for the lake and lakeside area.
At the meeting, the groups agreed to prioritise the aerating fountains as the first phase, with the equipment now on order and works expected to be completed this autumn.
David Rawsthorne, Make a Change for Ben Campaign Founder, said:
“I have had confirmation and permission from Sefton Council that the local company PHL Services Ltd will be carrying out the works fitting, installing and maintaining the water aeration fountains in the Botanic Gardens lake over the coming months.
“Paul Sherman who owns PHL Services has a vested interest in the park as he lives locally and he is committed to seeing the works carried out to a high standard.
“In the near future I will meet with Paul to discuss just what’s going to happen moving forwards but this is absolutely brilliant news.
“All going to plan by April/May of next year we will have the fountains fully fitted and a new mural in place.
“Our community efforts over the last few months has got us to this point and I thank each and every person and business that have got involved.
“I am absolutely delighted that our campaign and Sefton Council have worked hand-in-hand over the last three months to secure local contractors to carry out works on the aeration fountains. Huge thanks to all the people who have got involved and helped to get us where we are now.”
Cllr Ian Moncur, Cabinet Member for Health and Wellbeing, said:
“I’m really pleased to be able to say that we are moving forward with the initial improvements to the lake area at the Botanic Gardens and I do want to pass on a huge thank you to everyone in the community who has contributed to the local fundraising efforts to date.
“I know that fundraising activities continue and the generosity of our communities that know and love this park is unwavering.
“Our Green Sefton officers have a long-standing partnership with the Botanic Gardens Community Association and will continue to work with them and all community partners to drive forward further improvements for the whole park. This is in line with our longer-term vision to source a multi-million-pound investment to ensure this historic site can be enjoyed for generations to come.”
Nicola Cave, Community Campaigner, said:
“We are absolutely delighted by the news of the progress being made to fit aerators in Botanic Gardens Lake. In particular we’d like to thank Cllr Ian Moncur and the Council officers for engaging so positively with the Make A Change For Ben campaign and Cllr Greg Myers for his ongoing assistance.
“We must also thank every single person who has donated to the campaign to make this a reality and cannot wait to see the new aeration fountains in action very soon.”
Earlier this year, Sefton Council’s Green Sefton Service confirmed it was looking at ways to develop and improve the Botanic Gardens to offer better facilities for its communities as well as providing a positive boost to the local visitor economy.
In time, it is expected funding will be sought from streams through organisations that support the heritage sector. Around £5 million is likely to be required to deliver the Council’s ambitious plans to transform the park.
The major proposals are at the very early stages of development and next steps will include launching a public consultation in 2022. This will bring together the views of residents, regular park users, visitors and the dedicated volunteer groups who support many projects at the park to keep the space clean, green and beautiful for all.
Anyone interested in helping to shape the developing project, or would like to volunteer in the Botanic Gardens, can contact the Botanic Gardens Community Association at https://botanicgardensca.org.uk/
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Lovely to see the Botanic Gardens again. Because of covid I was not able to come home this October and to see this picture only makes me want to come home even more. Please take good care of Southport for me. Thanks, your friend in the colonies, Suzanna Byrne.