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Coordinator of the annual Christmas Caroling contest, Anthony Dennie, is dispelling claims that he had a hand in the show’s abrupt end last Tuesday, December 22, at the Victoria Park.

Coordinator of the annual Christmas Caroling contest, Anthony Dennie, is dispelling claims that he had a hand in the show’s abrupt end last Tuesday, December 22, at the Victoria Park.

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Persons wishing to use the Botanic Gardens will have to pay a fee come January 1.

The Gardens, which is a popular venue for wedding activities as well as for exercising and studying, will now be accessed at a price, says Andrew Wilson, Director of the National Parks, Rivers and Beaches Authority.{{more}}

In an interview on Monday, Wilson told SEARCHLIGHT that the final fee structure had not yet been put in place, but will soon be.

He said that persons requiring the use of the 244-year-old facility must receive permission to do so and will be required to pay according to the activity.

“It would be based on what you are using the Gardens for. For example, if you go to take wedding photos that would have a particular charge, different from if you want to do a ceremony or a simple reception.”

“We recognize that there are persons who … used this site and others regularly, so what we are proposing to do is have passes,” Wilson added.

“You could either have a half year or a full year. It would allow you to access the Gardens (the way persons) have traditionally.”

The Director indicated that these passes would be non-transferable and may well work out to cost less than a dollar a day.

According to Wilson, fees are already being charged at a number of the 14 other sites that have been refurbished with assistance from the European Union.

He said that until a proper structure is in place, fees will be charged for the use of certain amenities at certain sites.

He said that final touches are to be made at a number of the venues, which will be followed by the installation of a management structure; which will see nine of the sites being run by community organizations.

“We are convinced that this is necessary, not only in terms of revenue generation and maintenance, but in terms of regulating and managing the use of these sites.

“Some people expect that with the kind of investments we have made, that they would need to pay some kind of fee.”

The St. Vincent Botanic Gardens was established in 1765 and is the oldest in the Western Hemisphere.

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