Territory Stories

A planning history : Darwin Botanic Garden, past present future, and planning : a new approach



A planning history : Darwin Botanic Garden, past present future, and planning : a new approach


Brown, George, 1929-2002


Northern Territory Library Occasional Papers; E-Books; PublicationNT; Occasional papers (State Library of the Northern Territory) ; no. 39




George Brown Darwin Botanic Gardens


Made available via the Publications (Legal Deposit) Act 2004 (NT).




City planning -- Northern Territory -- Darwin; Darwin Botanic Gardens (N.T.) --- History

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State Library of the Northern Territory

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Occasional papers (State Library of the Northern Territory) ; no. 39

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In recent weeks an individual officer of the Council approved the construction of a security-fence across one of the most beautiful and admired landscapes in the City. Planning by Consultation In all of the above listed cases the public complained, in various degrees of voracity; some battles were lost and some won. There should not have been any need for the battles. We appear now to have entered into a period of planning by consultation; The Chief Minister's initiative, The Darwin Planning Group, is achieving results which are adding considerably to the visual amenity of our city and to the local and tourist enjoyment of it. Persons other than the planners have had input into these exciting proposals and are able to see the results of their thought and effort. The Conservation Commission of the Northern Territory has been given the task of producing a Future Development Plan and a Corporate Plan for the Darwin Botanic Garden for the first time in its, The Garden's, one hundred and twelve year history. Interested organisations and the public have been given the opportunity to comment or to put proposals for this exciting and most important planning initiative, and will again be invited to comment on the final document before it goes before the Cabinet. Certainly both of these planning projects have had input from outside of the host organisations but despite this improvement, the planning is still, in my opinion, very much flawed. Consultative Planning should be a process whereby the planners approach the people with their minds completely free of preconceptions other than that there is a proposal to be planned. Only by adopting this approach can any plan belong to those who will ultimately own it: the People. The process currently used only results in minor changes to proposals put by the planners and consultants; all plans are, largely, the plans of planners. The Mindil Beach Markets site development is the plan of consultants who only consulted with the Market Managers' and Stallholders' representatives. It does not belong to the users, the People. The Botanic Garden plan will be the plan of consultants, planners and CCNT Officers, as I learned when I put a proposal relating to the siting of proposed new buildings only to be told that the decision was already in place. Further to this, actions have already been taken which affect the users of the Garden without any consultation having been had with them ... through traffic has been denied, and the barbecues have been relocated. Conversely, the City Council is in it's third year of a Foreshores Development Plan which is the result of the Council, without preconceptions, asking the people what they wanted and accepting what was asked. While planners find it difficult to accept that .plans do not belong to them and that they, the planners, should be the instrument by which the People's needs and aspirations are achieved, the transition to the actuality of People's Planning could be achieved if they, the planners, could consider and accept a few suggestions. ... People's Planning can, and does, work. ... Staff at all levels and the p;dple should be involved in the planning process.