GEORGE NEWS - The Garden Route Botanical Garden (GRBG) will not be without a coffee shop for much longer. This was confirmed at their annual general meeting on Saturday 22 June.
The popular Getafix Café, where visitors to the garden enjoyed a sit-down and something to eat, closed its doors earlier this month.
According to the outgoing chairperson of the GRBG Trust, Roger Bath, the loss of the restaurant is a setback for the garden, but they are hoping to remedy this soon.
"The trust will be calling for proposals from potential operators this week and after an interview process, discussing the detail of the proposals, we hope to make a selection to have the tea-garden running as soon as possible," he said.
In his reporting on the financial state of the garden, Bath said that despite the difficulties experienced during the Caledon Street roadworks, gate fees actually increased in the year. "This indicates more visitors enjoyed our garden," he said.
He also noted that the increase from R10 to R15 introduced in April had been generally accepted and understood by visitors. Members also approved a 20% increase in member's fees effective 1 July.
Four trustees were elected at the meeting, which was held at the environmental education centre in the garden. Old hands Roger Bath and Peter Ginn were re-elected, and Pauline Cloete and Clive Welgemoed joined as new members of the board.
Finn Rautenbach, GRBG manager, gave an extensive report of their busy programme over the past year that included, among others, school involvement, outreaches, search and rescue of plants, a successful science week and nightlife walks, an internship programme and improving the nursery.
The concert area has been repainted and plans for an improved parking lot, with a welcome flower bed and planned picnic sites, are taking shape.
Their apiary, the area where they keep their rescued bees, has also grown tremendously, which has done wonders for the garden.
"We couldn't have done all of this without the support and effort of our donors and volunteers whose tireless work with the garden is incredible," Rautenbach said.
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