Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, Adrian Tantari, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour viewing the new bush Chapel at the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens.
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, Adrian Tantari, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour viewing the new bush Chapel at the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens.

Premier makes first regional visit since re-election

A CATHEDRAL made from vegetation is the best way to describe the renovated bush chapel in the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens.

The finishing touches have been added to the chapel in preparation for the first wedding service on Saturday.

Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour said the renovated bush chapel would be a great addition to the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens and follows the expansion of the Orchid House last year.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, Adrian Tantari, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour looking around the Orchard House.
Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe, Adrian Tantari, Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk and Fraser Coast Mayor George Seymour looking around the Orchard House.

"The Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens are one of the jewels in the crown on the Fraser Coast, situated on 6000-year-old dunes spanning 26 hectares," he said.

"The gardens boast a wide variety of established plants of the Wide Bay and Great Sandy region along with walking tracks, an Australian bush tucker garden, a Chinese garden, labyrinth, the Orchid House and a new natural playground."

Cr Seymour said the bush chapel project was identified as part of the Botanic Gardens Enhancement plan.

"The first stages of the ceremonial area project involved building a new vehicle set down area on Elizabeth Street, shelter and arbour," he said.

"The latest $475,000 project has revamped the dated paved wedding chapel to create a new outdoor wedding venue where the foliage and trees form a natural cathedral.

"The old area had a few issues. Tree roots were lifting pavers or cracking the asphalt which created access issues and the shade meant that it was hard to establish grass cover so there were large areas of dirt.

"The new chapel is built on a slightly raised deck, using a composite decking material, which is easy to maintain and more functional, especially for brides with flowing dresses or trains.

"New lighting will help showcase the vegetation and coloured lighting at the entrance can be

changed to suit function colours or special events and days."

The improvements also make the chapel more versatile.

"The area could also be used for a variety of other functions besides weddings," Cr Seymour said.

Local architects designed the project which was undertaken by local builder PBS.

"The new chapel is wheelchair accessible and compliant with the Disability Discrimination Act," Cr Seymour said.

Future plans include revamping the pathways linking the bush chapel with the Orchid House,

including replacing a bridge with a similar raised pathway.

"The raised pathway will help overcome access issues caused by the tree roots lifting pavers or cracking through asphalt pathways," Cr Seymour said.

The Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens Bush Chapel upgrade is a joint initiative of the Fraser Coast Regional Council and the Queensland Government.

It is funded by council and $365,000 in grants from the State Government's Works for Queensland project.

Premier Annastacia Palaszczuk said Works for Queensland had delivered 2500 project across the state with 86 of those on the Fraser Coast.

Local Government Minister Stirling Hinchliffe said the Fraser Coast Regional Council had received $48.49 million across four rounds of the program since 2016.

"The chapel is the next stage of the Hervey Bay Botanic Gardens Master Plan and watching it develop in the past few years has been delightful."

The facility can be booked by calling council on 1300 79 49 29.