So What John So puts Melbourne’s Historic Gardens at risk

John So rejects professional advice recommending that the Annual Melbourne Flower Show be relocated to protect Melbourne’s Exhibition Gardens which is already under stress as a result of the drought.

The City Council’s horticultural experts have recommended that the Gardens be relocated to a more suitable alternative site so as to protect the Gardens and Trees.

Local Residents agree and have been calling for the commercial garden show to be moved.

The organisers of the Flower show are more interested in profits then Melbourne’s Parks and Gardens.

John So who has no expertise or understanding of horticulture has rejected the recommendations raising yet again concern over John So’s suitability to protect Melbourne’s Parks and Gardens.

Melbourne is in drought and our parks and gardens are under serious threat and John So, rather then acting to protect the historic trees has now seriously placed them at greater risk. A risk that can not be justified.

If the show is not recolated then the public bococtt it in order to demonstrate their opposition to John So’s irresponsible and reckless action.

Flower show stays despite tree fears
Source: The Age
Clay Lucas, City Reporter
January 15, 2007

Lord Mayor John So has resisted calls for the Melbourne International Flower and Garden Show to be moved from Carlton Gardens because of fears its thirsty elms could be harmed by the event.

Melbourne City Council’s water spokesman Brian Shanahan yesterday called on the show, which is likely to attract 125,000 visitors, to be moved.

Cr Shanahan said the show in April would put great stress on the stricken gardens.

The gardens are one of nine heritage-listed parks the council wants exempted from stage 3 restrictions, because of the poor health of some elms and oaks.

It is believed the flower show’s organisers, the International Management Group, will have to apply to City West Water for an exemption to water commercial displays — a move that could stir indignation among Melbourne gardeners who can water their garden only two days a week.

IMG, which pays an annual fee of about $100,000 to run the show in the gardens, would not comment.

The show has been in the Carlton Gardens for the past 11 years and has long infuriated residents, who say it hurts trees and plants.

Last year, thanks to support from Cr So, the five-day show was given another two years in the gardens.

Council has come out several times this week to say the city’s trees are in a dire state because of the drought.

Cr So, who will meet with Environment Minister John Thwaites on Friday to discuss water issues, said the show was too important to move.

“The Gardens and Flower Show is a signature Melbourne event and must stay in the Carlton Gardens,” he said.

Carlton Gardens Group convener Margaret O’Brien said the show would cause the removal of emergency drip systems set up in the gardens, further endangering the struggling trees.

Ms O’Brien said the show should be moved to another venue such as the Showgrounds, the Exhibition Centre or Birrarung Marr.