RBG Master Plan Update meeting is shown more than 50 poster sized graphics of the ideas that were being worked on.

News 100 greenBy Pepper Parr

November 22, 2019



It was the second public meeting to update people on the 25 year Master Plan that the Royal Botanical Garden is putting in place.

The RBG is a sprawling 2700 acre property that has dozens of nooks and crannies that many, probably most, don’t know anything about.

RBG Laking Gardens

Formerly a market garden, Laking Garden is home to RBG’s herbaceous perennial collections.

There are of course the obvious Laking, Hendrie, Arboretum and the most recent Rock Garden but did you know about the Rock Chapel? The South Shore Commons?

The RBG has a core group of supporters that are rock hard. They see themselves as stewards there to support management and ensure that no one infringes on the place.

Other than some American Republicans everyone knows we no longer have weather – we have climate change. We are also becoming much more aware of the relationship of the climate we live in and what it does for our overall well-being.

The RBG is an operation with a $50 million budget of which 65% is generated internally.

They are in the process of expanding their revenue options while at the same time taking a look at what in the way of problems is coming their way.

The recent news of the waste water that was allowed to seep into the water is just one example of what RBG has to cope with.

RPG Full house

It was a full house of people who see themselves as stewards in place to support management to ensure that no one infringes on the RBG

The RBG is part of a bigger picture; it is impacted and impacts the Great Lakes, the Escarpment and local agriculture. Pollution is an ongoing concern and adjacent land users need to have an eye kept on them.

The objective is to ensure that the RBG is ecologically resilient and reflects the changes in the way the public now sees the place.

Drew Wensley, a principal with MT Planners, said they were looking for a way to change the “landing points” for the RBG adding that he didn’t think it appropriate for the entrance to the RBG be a parking lot. He thought the entrance point should be a garden of some sort.

Thought was being given to improving transit to the site and also looking for way to use “green transit” on the site.

All this is a part of the 25 year plan – how does RBG adapt to the public change in attitude towards the changing climate? And how do they continually take the RBG’s environmental pulse?

RBG People looking at posters

People attending the Master Plan Update meeting had more than fifty poster sized graphics to see in detail the changes that were being thought through.

Thursday evening well over 150 people turned out to learn more and get an update on the Master Plan being developed by a team of consultants led by the Primary Consultant, MT Planners. The long-term policy document will identify short-term capital projects to be addressed in the next five years as well as longer-term projects for the next 25 years. The plan is expected to be completed at the end of February 2020 and approved by RBG’s board of directors in mid-March 2020.

Called a “bold initiative” it will be the roadmap for Royal Botanical Gardens to ensure future generations will connect with plant-life in a unique environment, fostering awareness and care for a world that is under increasing ecological threat. RBG aims to instill in everyone they reach, a deeper awareness of themselves, their place on this planet and their role as protectors and stewards of the environment.

“The Master Plan will be the roadmap to achieving RBG’s goals; namely to build the financial strength and independence to serve its future and to enhance infrastructure and amenities for current visitors and for new, more diverse audiences from local, national and international markets.

RBG Mark Runcimen

Mark Runciman – the xx of Royal Botanical Gardens; runs a tight ship.

“RBG plans to achieve this by creating new revenue streams and leveraging and enhancing its existing land use plan. RBG will explore not only the living framework of the landscape, and its business and market, but the aspirations of RBG’s members and governance body.
“At the heart of this plan is the critical need to nurture and protect ecosystems on a local, national and global scale. While the need to achieve financial sustainability is clear, RBG exists to affect real and positive change in how humanity interacts with our environment and has pledged to take full advantage of our resources, knowledge and reputation to make significant strides in this direction. To bring this Master Plan to fruition, significant fundraising efforts will be required and formalized throughout the planning process.

Kelvin Galbraith headshot_Super_Portrait

Kelvin Galbraith,Ward 1 Councillor, is the Regional representative on the RBG Board

Kelven Gailbraith, who is the Regional representative on the RBG Board noted that: “There was a large crowd at the event last night and many were very excited about the future that this master plan will bring to the RBG.

“Many of the people I spoke with were frequent users of the gardens and use it as an escape from our busy society.”

The Gazette will have an opinion piece in how the meeting went – what worked and what didn’t work.

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