Monday, 10 September 2018

Green issues: the reconstruction of the botanical garden in Almaty was discussed with the public

The plans for the restoration of the Main Botanical Garden by the foundation of Bulat Utemuratov were told to the Almaty residents in the assembly hall of the Turan University. The organizers of the reconstruction emphasized that they are ready for a permanent dialogue with the public and do not exclude the introduction of changes in the concept.

The current state of the botanical garden

After the USSR collapsed, the botanical garden was long in ruin. Firstly, the irrigation system did not work here – a very large territory (more than 100 hectares) was left without regular watering, the water reservoirs were dry, summer droughts led to the death of plants. Secondly, the very existence of the garden was repeatedly threatened – it was set on fire, it was planned to be built up with elite cottages and they also wanted to cut it down to break the streets. And finally, thirdly, public funding for the Main Botanical Garden has virtually ceased. Fortunately, it was at this time that the Bulat Utemuratov Foundation paid attention to the problem.

What does the foundation of Bulat Utemuratov offer?

The global goal of the project is to restore the irrigation system, while preserving the unique exposition and results of many years of work of dendrologists and botanists. During reconstruction it is planned to send a water disposal, built in Soviet times and subsequently lost, to the botanical garden. In addition, the garden will be safer – with the funds allocated by the foundation, outdated engineering communications will be replaced, a system of video surveillance and visitors access control will be organized, and fences will be restored. There will be a related infrastructure in the garden – WC, sources of drinking water and a garbage collection system.

Also the foundation is planning to launch an electronic guide in the garden, which will “tell” visitors about the exhibits via QR-codes. And specifically for citizens with impaired mobility a special infrastructure will be created (special ramps, tactile paths etc.).

Will all the territory be accessible to Almaty residents?

Open access will remain only in the public garden zone (this is approximately 25 hectares). Part of the botanical garden will still be closed to ordinary visitors and will be reserved for storing paleobotanical collections and samples, herbarium and other needs of research workers. And there will be no commercial objects in the garden at all (with the exception of souvenir stalls at the entrance) – they decided to reject even the idea of building a parking lot here.

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