Since buying a derelict site on Albany Highway, Phil Tunstall has brought to life his vision of a botanical garden teeming with colour, an attraction to those passing by. It’s the perfect spot to promote tourism, arts and horticulture in the area. Thousands of plants have been purchased, propagated and planted at the old school site, and when walking through the site the cultural and tourist vision Mr Tunstall has for the site is clear. During a business symposium on October 13, Mr Tunstall provided a presentation outlining his expansive beautification plans for the site. Plans include an Asian-fusion-inspired garden, three more garden murals for graffiti-defaced walls to accompany the already completed artworks, a cafe, a plant centre, art displays and residential accommodation options. The symposium was a collaborative presentation with Kathryn MacNeil from Mt Barker Tourism providing updated tourism and traffic flow numbers, and stressing the importance of community collaboration for projects like the botanical gardens for the betterment of the Great Southern Artists, local business owners, neighbours, Plantagenet Shire delegates, South Regional TAFE management and members of the general public attended to witness Mr Tunstall’s vision for the site. Buying the property just over a year ago Mr Tunstall has made significant strides in the transformation of the school which had sat empty for about 20 years. Three murals sit completed on previously bare walls, drawing attention from passers-by travelling on Albany Highway. “It was on the market for three years and nobody wanted it so I thought I’d give it a go,” he said. He’s putting the call out to horticulturists, landscapers, philanthropists, artists and members of the community to lend a hand to the project, welcoming all volunteers.