UPGRADES to Cook Park, which could see a cafe and shop established in the 4.5 hectare green space, could cost close to $5 million a master plan for the area has revealed.
The draft document was prepared by consultants following focus groups with Orange residents earlier this year to outline the park’s future for the next 20 years.
Upgrading the Bastick cottage - now the home of the park’s guildry - could transform the historic caretaker’s residence into a cafe, shop and educational space in the next five to 10 years.
The plan proposes work should start with an architectural review of the cottage to see how it can be best reused.
Other ideas proposed include the removal of the 1930s-era bird aviary in 10 years and replacing the sunken rose garden with a maze or sensory garden.
The plan says the park has adapted to accommodate community pressures with a native animal zoo established in the 1930s just one of the earlier features that later changed.
Nearby resident Elaina Neville was involved in the focus groups to develop the plan.
Overall she welcomed the recommendations which she said would keep the culture and the history of the park the same.
“It won’t lose the feel of being our Cook Park,” she said.
“I like that their preparing for climate change with their choice of trees.”
Mrs Neville said she was sad to see the aviary go but understood it may need to change if it wasn’t in the birds’ best interests.
Council spokesman Allan Reeder said it was too early to say what would happen to the birds when the aviary was removed but their welfare would be given prime consideration.
“Many of the birds have grown up in captivity so to release them wouldn’t be appropriate,” he said.
“It’s an important issue whether Orange City Council should have caged birds. In the past they were thought to be a feature.”
Mrs Neville said a cafe was essential for the park but she was uncertain how an educational display, cafe and shop could all fit in the existing cottage.
“I don’t think the guildry will have a lot of room left which is really a shame,” she said.
The plan estimates the construction of a kiosk would cost $250,000.
Another recommendation to replace the rose garden with a maze or sensory garden would be ideal for users of the park with children, Mrs Neville said.
The public will have the opportunity to comment on the master plan until the public display period closes on November 19.