Botanic Gardens lake campaigners meet up with council members

Botanic Gardens lake campaigners meet up with council members

by Tom Martin (June 2021)

CAMPAIGNERS aiming to improve the water quality in the Botanic Gardens park lake say they are “really encouraged” after meeting to discuss the issue with local councillors.

The campaigners met with Sefton Council's cabinet member for Health and Wellbeing, Cllr Ian Moncur and Southport councillor Greg Myers to voice their concerns and investigate ways for working together on the issue.

Supported by local celebrities such as golfer Tommy Fleetwood and DJ Adele Roberts, as well as more than 3,000 people on their Facebook page, the ‘Make a Change for Ben’ campaign was started by David Rawsthorne following the death of his best friend Ben Smith-Crallan.

Ben was 37 when he died in 2018 after contracting Necrotising Fasciitis. His family believe it happened after he went into the lake while retrieving  a football, although they acknowledge the link wasn't proven and that subsequent tests found the water to be safe for an environment of that type.   

The  campaign is now working with the volunteers of the Botanic Gardens Community Association (BGCA), who help look after the park and is also fundraising to assist with the costs of cleaning the lake water. 

David, who started the campaign with Ben's family, thinks they will be delighted by the news. He said: “I’m really encouraged and very glad that Cllr Myers stepped in to help us with this and that Cllr Moncur was receptive and supportive of what we are trying to achieve.

“At the end of the day, we all want to see Botanic Gardens lake area continue as a wonderful and welcoming attraction for local people and those further afield. We look forward to working with the volunteers and the council to ensure that is the case." ”

Cllr Moncur, who is responsible for parks in the borough, said the council is keen to investigate what can be done in both the short and longer term to improve various aspects of Botanic Gardens, including the lake area.

He said: “Thanks to the great working relationship with have between  the council’s Green Sefton staff and the volunteers, we've recently seen improvements in areas the aviary and there will also soon be a public consultation held on improving other aspects of the park via the possibility of heritage funding.

“As discussed with the campaigners, if this consultation highlights the desire for serious investment in improving the lake area then that is something we will pursue. In the meantime, we are happy to work with them to see what other measures we can investigate in  the shorter  term.”

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