The Ministry of Agro-Industry has drawn out a management plan for the restoration of the Pamplemousses botanical garden. The latter has undergone major changes over time: its beauty has gradually died out as the plants, including the waterlilies, have been invaded by creepers and insects. Now, the plan is to revive the previous life-flourishing state that was once so characteristic of the garden.
The botanical garden of Pamplemousses once was a focal point of beauty in our island. The wide range of collection of plants contributed greatly to the peaceful atmosphere one could enjoy there; being surrounded by lush green trees and endemic rare plants was a real delight for locals and tourists alike. With time, though, its beauty faded – as they say, beauty is but ephemeral, and, it eventually wilts. However, hope dictates that it can be revived if one has the proper action plan, which the Ministry of Agro-Industry claims to have. In the past, a number of attempts were made to restore the previous state of the garden. But, obviously, none of them was particularly successful. The ministry has thus come up with a Management Plan which was made public on the 9th of September. The new scheme aims at clearly assessing the situation and, from there, establishing a long-term strategy to bring the garden back to its previous state.
The toxic combination of factors leading to the deplorable state of the garden
To provide remedial measures, the situation has first to be evaluated in light of the problems that have dimmed the glitter of the Pamplemousses garden. It has been observed that a combination of factors have led to the dreadful state of the site. Pests, diseases, manpower, and climatic change have all contributed to its current deplorable state. In a 2012 report written after a group of officials carried out an inspection at the garden, it was recorded that a lack of proper maintenance has impacted negatively on the garden. Also, the waterlilies were being invaded by snails. As for the trees, they were not regularly pruned, while some of them succumbed as victims of gross competition from creepers. It was also found that the waterways were not cleaned often enough. Furthermore, to make matters worse, termites were flourishing in the garden.
Is the management personnel of the garden the only one to blame?
The previous evaluations of the situation showed that a lack of proper communication between the garden management team and the other authorities involved only further exacerbated the problems. No management plan to eradicate the invasive species was set up, while the pressure climatic change was exerting was not dealt with either.
Lack of monetary resources?
The ministry has stated that the garden is financially independent: the revenues generated from visits are allegedly sufficient to cater for its maintenance.
The action plan
The plan of the ministry now will focus on nine aspects:
- Quality of service
- Security measures
- Administration and legal aid
- Training of personnel
- Eco-friendly initiatives
Another one of the important steps to be taken is the standardisation of the entrance fees for visitors by cutting off the excessive charges. The entrance fees are not the same for locals and tourists. The report, however, did not specify whether the tariffs for tourists will be decreased, or if it is the ones for Mauritians that will increase.
The development program will also include reinforcing the security system by adding CCTV cameras, or at least, the recruitment of security officers.
Additionally, the kiosks and historical buildings will be renovated.