Major revamp of Hervey Bay Orchid House soon to finish
FROM the shell of the former Orchid House, Hervey Bay's new floral hub is starting to bloom.
The Botanic Gardens Orchid House will double in size and include a new cafe as part of major upgrades by the council.
The $400,000 project, which started in May, has already reached its halfway point.
As part of the upgrades, the new orchid house will be extended by about 3m on each side, support a new viewing deck and space for a cafe.
It will also offer better disability access.
The majority of the project was funded under a $344,900 grant from the State Government's Works for Queensland program, with the Fraser Coast Regional Council footing the rest of the bill.
Founded in 2000 to commemorate the centenary of Federation, the centre houses thousands of different native orchids and indoor plants.
Councillor Zane O'Keefe said there had been a growing need for upgrades after the house had reached its capacity.
"What this does is it builds on something that was working really well down here in our community... (and) adding a lot more because it activates the space and allows people who may not ordinarily come to visit orchids to give them another reason to come down here," Mr O'Keefe said.
Council staff closed the building in May to allow the works to start, with the orchids now being housed in a secure council premises.
Fraser Coast mayor George Seymour said the expansion would add another level to the experience of the town's Botanic Gardens.
"Orchids are something we can promote further and better, people do travel here to experience our orchids," Cr Seymour said.
"We want to really enliven the Botanic Gardens... in any city, whether it's Sydney, Brisbane, Rockhampton or Bundaberg, they are a special place for people of all ages."
Construction of the new house is expected to finish later this month while the remaining fit-outs will be ready for a September re-opening.