Toowoomba Regional Council’s (TRC) approval to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MOU) with one of Asia’s top tourist attractions, Singapore’s impressive Gardens by the Bay, highlights the region’s bold ambitions.
TRC Economic Development Committee chair and Toowoomba Region Mayor Paul Antonio today proudly declared the agreement, which includes TAFE Queensland South West, will bear “fruit, and flowers”, for all parties in terms of sharing experiences and knowledge between TRC and the Gardens by the Bay organisation. The MOU was approved at today’s March Ordinary Meeting of Council.
“The Gardens by the Bay, which ranks among Singapore’s top tourist destinations, has attracted some 30 million visitors in the past six years and truly captures the city state’s vision to be a city in a garden,” Mayor Antonio said.
“Its stunning glasshouses, displaying plants from different continents and climatic zones, offer an educational and entertaining visit for dedicated green thumbs and curious novices.
“I’m pleased to note how quickly this idea for a staff exchange and training program has materialised following a visit to last year’s Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers by a party from Singapore’s Gardens by the Bay.
“A horticulturalist from Singapore will work with TRC’s Parks and Recreation Services branch from April to October this year. Of considerable interest is ornamental flower production which is one of TRC’s gardening strengths.
“The visiting horticulturalist will be involved in preparations for the Carnival of Flowers and will have a chance to attend relevant training at TAFE.
“Council is exploring the logistics around a reciprocal staff visit at the end of the year.
“There is great potential for us to promote the Toowoomba Region in Singapore, including a display of some of our ornamental and flowering plants at their facilities.
“Future marketing campaigns could look to target the tourism sector and other economic development opportunities.
“Consecutive national gold awards in the major festival/event category for the Toowoomba Carnival of Flowers at the national tourism awards underline the enduring and impressive reputation of our Garden City image. I’m confident one of our richest traditions will appeal to visitors at another centre of garden excellence.”
TRC Parks and Recreation Services portfolio leader Cr Joe Ramia said the relationship was a “win, win”.
“The signing of this agreement is a great opportunity to learn and experience different approaches to horticulture for the Toowoomba Region, especially for our talented horticultural teams,” Cr Ramia said.
“The combined resources of TRC and TAFE will offer a different environment for the visiting Singaporean horticulturalist.
“Council places great importance on, and resources into, maintaining and upgrading our parkland gardens and open spaces for public enjoyment.
“This effort has been recognised by a strong public rating of these facilities in our recent Toowoomba Region Community Survey (93% of respondents said TRC was performing well in the delivery of parks, open spaces and playgrounds).”