A plea for more money to be spent on an often forgotten part of Warrnambool has been heard with the Japanese gardens to get a $30,000 boost.
The first tree was planted in the garden in 1998 to honour the sister city friendship between Warrnambool and Miura after it was gifted a "substantial" amount of money from Japan.
The relationship between the two cities began in 1992, and the original plans for the gardens were to be 10 times the size it is now.
Former councillor John O'Brien, who was on the original committee for the gardens when the idea was first mooted in the 1970s, asked the council in June for more money to be spent on it.
Mr O'Brien said the council had not spent any money on upgrades to the site since chipping in $20,000 in 2016, and called on councillors to spend at least another $20,000 this year. The Isobel and David Jones Foundation will add another $10,000.
He said he was pleased to hear the councillors had decided to allocate $20,000 from its small infrastructure fund to improve the site.
Mr O'Brien said hopefully the works would bring the attention of the community to the garden by providing proper access and signage.
He said he wanted to see better wheelchair access and a proper entrance from Grieve Street.
Mr O'Brien had also asked the council to consider hooking up water and power, probably solar, to the site. "Typically Japanese gardens have a water feature and a lantern," he said.
Cr Sue Cassidy said she hoped the improvements would bring the council a step closer to getting water at the gardens.
"I'll keep banging on about it until we do get water there," she said.
Earlier this year Cr Cassidy called for the council to include a water feature in the Japanese gardens as part of its $1.4m water saving plan for Albert Park.
"A Japanese garden without water doesn't look as impressive as it should be," she had said.
Cr Kylie Gaston said it was "high time" the council put some effort into the Japanese gardens.
"This is particularly relevant at the moment because the community garden right next door is just going full gangbusters and the contrast is starting to be not particularly becoming," she said. She also thanked the Isobel and David Jones Foundation for contributing to the project. "This leveraging of funding from foundations really helps us to get many community projects off the ground that otherwise wouldn't have happened," she said. "It's terrific to have that kind of collaboration."
The gardens was one of two projects funded out of the council's small infrastructure fund on Monday.
Before the $70,000 funding allocations there was $894,000 in the fund for councillors to fund small projects.
Mayor Tony Herbert said that would leave the next council with significant funds to be able stimulate the economy when the time was right to do so.
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