Gar­den gets sup­port

Auckland City Harbour News - - FRONT PAGE - By MARIA SLADE

A LONG-awaited Chi­nese gar­den could be on the cards as part of plans for in­ner city golf course Cham­ber­lain Park.

Auck­land’s Chi­nese gar­den com­mit­tee feels ‘‘a lot more pos­i­tive’’ that the project may fi­nally go ahead in a cor­ner of what is now the pub­licly owned 18-hole course af­ter five years’ work and be­ing re­jected for nu­mer­ous other sites.

It has made a sub­mis­sion to the lo­cal board propos­ing an $8 mil­lion to $12m gar­den, per­form­ing arts cen­tre and Chi­nese his­tory mu­seum.

There would be no cost to Auck­land other than the con­tri­bu­tion of about 8000 square me­tres of land, com- mit­tee co-chair­man Kai Luey says.

The Al­bert-Eden Lo­cal Board has just com­pleted a public con­sul­ta­tion process on what to do with the 32.3-hectare park next to the north­west­ern mo­tor­way.

Al­bert-Eden has the low­est pro­por­tion of sports fields of any area in the city, and there is strong logic for widen­ing the use of Cham­ber­lain Park other than just golf, board chair­man Peter Haynes says.

The board sup­ports a Chi­nese gar­den be­ing one of those uses.

‘‘The Chi­nese gar­den pro­posal mer­its very se­ri­ous con­sid­er­a­tion,’’ he says. ‘‘Ob­vi­ously a gift of that or­der can’t be eas­ily ig­nored, in my view any­way.’’

Coun­cil of­fi­cials are col­lat­ing the re­sults of the public con­sul­ta­tion, but early in­di­ca­tions show there is a lot of sup­port for al­ter­na­tive uses of the park, Haynes says.

But there has been vo­cal op­po­si­tion from golfers who don’t want to lose the public course.

The Chi­nese com­mu­nity wants to be able to give some­thing back, Luey says.

‘‘The whole idea is just to have sym­bol­ism that the Chi­nese ap­pre­ci­ate the op­por­tu­nity to come to a new land and set­tle here.

‘‘Also we think we’ve got a his­tory to tell, to show peo­ple what we’ve been through and hope­fully im­prove in the fu­ture.’’

It is not an­tic­i­pated there would be a charge to visit, as there is at Dunedin’s Chi­nese gar­den, Luey says.

The per­form­ing arts cen­tre would be a multi-pur­pose fa­cil­ity which could be used by the whole com­mu­nity.

The com­mit­tee needs some con­crete plans be­fore it can go out and se­ri­ously fundraise.

‘‘We have ex­pres­sions of had great in­ter­est of sup­port from China, and I think most of the fund­ing will come from main­land China,’’ Luey says.

‘‘I think the whole con­cept will be read­ily ac­cepted by a lot of peo­ple.’’

Ar­chi­tect and com­mit­tee co-chair­man Ron Sang says mem­bers have drawn up pre­lim­i­nary de­signs for three other sites.

Haynes says based on the public feed­back the board will de­cide at its April meet­ing whether to go ahead with work on a mas­ter plan­ning project for Cham­ber­lain Park.

A Chi­nese gar­den will be a fan­tas­tic as­set and a des­ti­na­tion fea­ture of the area, but there are still pock­ets of ‘‘wil­ful ig­no­rance’’ in the com­mu­nity about the mer­its of such a project, he says.

Photo: JU­LIAN RAETHEL

Cham­ber­lain Park: A golfer makes the most of the public course at Cham­ber­lain Park.

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