Tourist attaction to close for quake strengthening

08:22, Aug 13 2012
Picnic Café
Picnic Café will also shut due to earthquake strengthening.

One of Wellington's most popular tourist attractions is closing for earthquake strengthening.

Begonia House in the Botanic Garden will be temporarily closed while the $150,000 project is under way.

The closure means the Picnic Café, which is at one end of the building, will also shut.

The building will be reopened to the public in stages, with the Picnic Cafe first to reopen on September 1. The whole project should be completed by the end of October.

The work will include extra framing and bracing to reduce the level of "flexing" during a major earthquake, and also extra reinforcing of the building’s concrete foundations.

Money for the project will come from Wellington City Council’s earthquake resilience programme.

Programme director Neville Brown said starting work now meant it would be fully reopened for its visitor peak in the summer.

“The work will be relatively quick and easy to complete. Much of the framing will be prefabricated offsite and welded into place.”

Many of the tropical and fragile plants in Begonia House will be temporarily moved to other hothouses. Other, bigger, plants will have to stay – but staff will continue to keep them watered and cared for.

Begonia House was built in 1961 with funding from prominent Wellington family the Norwoods. It followed the establishment, in 1956, of the Lady Norwood Rose.

The building houses a wide range of flowers and plants including many types of begonias.

Contact Katie Chapman
Wellington reporter
Twitter: @katiechapman28


The Dominion Post