Seven companies, including two foreign entities, have expressed interest to partner the government to rebuild the Aburi Botanical Garden into a first-class tourist destination.
A Deputy Minister of Local Government and Rural Development (MLGRD), Nii Lantey Vanderpuije, disclosed this in an interview with the Daily Graphic.
He said a committee was currently reviewing proposals submitted to the MLGRD, after which the bid that would meet the government’s criteria would be selected for the restoration project.
According to Nii Lantey, discussions for the engagement of a private company to refurbish the garden began about two years ago following recommendations made by the Aburi Traditional Council and later, the Akuapem South District Assembly.
"We are looking at a system where the garden would have its accommodation regenerated. In addition, the facility would have waterfalls and other attractions that would encourage people not just to visit the place, but also spend time there.
"I believe these are things the technical people would be looking at in evaluating the various proposals," he said.
The Aburi Botanical Gardens Guest House has 10 rooms. Regrettably, none of the rooms is currently habitable. Roofs leak badly and wooden floors in many places are rotting away.
Conditions in the 25 chalets on the grounds of the gardens, five of which have now been given to the Akuapem South District Assembly for their offices, are not different.
In fact, all buildings are in need of fresh paint, while sinks and water closets in almost all the rooms need to be replaced.
Surprisingly, the central administration block, which houses the offices of the garden curator, is also suffering its share of deterioration. Portions of glass windows of the building are shattered and the building itself is in dire need of support to hold it up before long.
The Curator, Mr Albert Prempeh, told the Daily Graphic that the garden had not had any serious rehabilitation works done on it since the country hosted the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) conference in the 1990s.
“Since then, no major work has been done,” he stated.
On the average, 93 people visit the Aburi Botanical Gardens daily but a number of them who would have wished to stay on for a day or two are compelled to return because of the state in which the rooms are. “As a result, the number of visitors to the facility keeps dwindling,” Mr Prempeh said.
For instance, he said, there were 34,000 visitors in 2012 but the number reduced to 26,000 last year.
Source: Daily Graphic
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