Member for Kiama Gareth Ward MP has secured $25,000 funding for the Shoalhaven Heads Native Botanic Garden to make this beautiful natural asset more accessible for people with disabilities.

Mr Ward said he was delighted to have secured funding for this project under the State Government’s Community Building Partnerships program.

Since 2008 and my time on Shoalhaven City Council, I have worked hard to support the efforts of Shoalhaven Heads locals to turn what used to be an unused and baron area into a real hidden treasurer. This grant combines two of my great passions; supporting people with disabilities and encouraging volunteerism,” Mr Ward said.

This beautiful native oasis is home to over 200 native plant species from all over Australia, occupying the grounds of Curtis Park in Shoalhaven Heads. It is also a place where people can learn a lot more about Australia’s wonderful native plants.

“As many Heads locals and visitors to our region have discovered, the Shoalhaven Heads Native Botanic Garden is a peaceful place for a quiet wander and a relaxing picnic, with a children’s playground sitting on the opposite side of the park over the road,” he said.

“From its initial concept to fundraising and the many, many long hours of physical work put in creating and maintaining the garden, from the original coordinator the late Roger Tilley and fellow ParkCare volunteers who have worked tirelessly bringing initially what was the Shoalhaven Heads Curtis Park Arboretum which has grown and transformed into what is known today as the Shoalhaven Heads Botanic Garden.

“I also knowledge the President and experienced horticulturist Mr Rob Stewart and the Secretary Mr Tom Korevaar along with the other dedicated and hard-working local volunteers.

“The Shoalhaven Heads Native Botanic Garden is a fantastic and an important visual reminder of what a local community can do by working together towards a common goal and purpose,” Mr Ward said.

Mr Rob Stewart, President of the Shoalhaven Heads Native Botanic Garden also welcomed the funding.  

“The barbeque shelter area and the old table and chairs needed to become wheelchair accessible and disability-friendly,” Mr Stewart said.

“The new shelter has new chairs and tables and we have also been undertaking a lot of work to make the Shoalhaven Heads native botanic gardens more accessible for people with a disability and this will be of great benefit to both visitors and locals alike.

“Our local MP Gareth Ward has been a great supporter of ours over many years now and he has secured funding for a number of our Shoalhaven Heads Native Botanic Garden projects - and he has always gone into bat for us to secure and deliver funding for the garden which has made a real and significant difference,” he said.

“Gareth was instrumental on Shoalhaven City Council in first supporting the establishment of the garden and we appreciate and acknowledge Gareth’s strong and ongoing support which will help in the ongoing operation of the garden and also to make it more friendly and welcoming for people with a disability,” Mr Stewart said.