HAMIL­TON CITY COUN­CIL DRAFT 10-YEAR PLAN There’s no place for pet projects in plan

Hamilton News - - Front Page -

Hamil­ton’s 10-year plan is not the place for out-of-the-blue pet projects such as the cen­tral city park, Hamil­to­nian Kelli Pike told the city coun­cil this week.

Ms Pike is a ra­dio host at Freefm and a staff mem­ber of Goeco, but said she was speak­ing as an in­di­vid­ual when she re­jected the cen­tral city park pro­posal.

Ms Pikeshowed the coun­cil a pic­ture of her daugh­ter in her pre­sen­ta­tion.

“This is my daugh­ter Ella, and this is what we keep in mind when it we con­sider what we are do­ing and the de­ci­sions we should be mak­ing.”

The park is an ex­ten­sion of the River Plan and was orig­i­nally go­ing to cost ratepay­ers $30 mil­lion. That was cut to $12.8 mil­lion dur­ing the 10-year plan meet­ings last year.

Ms Pike said now is not the time for big projects with a large rates rise loom­ing.

“My main con­cern with the cen­tral city park pro­posal is it be­ing a pet project of the mayor. There was no com­mu­nity man­date, and no good process taken for com­mu­nity en­gage­ment even to get it to the point of be­ing in­cluded in the 10-year plan pro­posal,” Ms Pike said.

She said the lack of trans­parency around the project had a dark cloud over it, along with re­cent news that the city CEO Richard Briggs in­formed only two of the prop­erty own­ers in the area of the coun­cil’s orig­i­nal plan to buy and de­mol­ish build­ings be­tween Vic­to­ria on the River and Em­bassy Park.

“I love Vic­to­ria on the River but don’t think we need to ex­tend on it with ratepayer money.” Ms Pike was also con­cerned that the coun­cil was throw­ing away its her­itage. The build­ings 254 and 260 Vic­to­ria Street are both clas­si­fied as her­itage build­ings, but would be in the way of the park if the plan was ap­proved.

She was also con­cerned that the cost could rise back to the $30 mil­lion pro­posed, or more. Ms Pike wants the money to re­turn to the orig­i­nal River Plan. She said it had a bet­ter con­nec­tion with the river.

The orig­i­nal Plan stretches from Pukete to the Hamil­ton Gar­dens with a range of projects listed such as the trans­for­ma­tion of the Pukete Bridge, a pro­posed pedes­trian bridge next to Vic­to­ria bridge and the Ferry Bank de­vel­op­ment.

“VOTR is beau­ti­ful, but it is 30m above the river and so isn’t the con­nec­tion with the awa (river) that I feel we should in­vest in.”

“The process taken in the River Plan de­vel­op­ment was full. It took the pub­lic for the jour­ney and I think that was key. I’d much rather the in­vest­ment was in river­side. If we are to be a great river city I think we need to look af­ter the awa and fo­cus on ac­tual river­side fa­cil­i­ties, paths, signs and work and also the qual­ity of the water and veg­e­ta­tion man­age­ment par­tic­u­larly to en­sure that it can re­spond to more fre­quent flood­ing as we have seen.”

“We’ve had coun­cil­lors say noth­ing is set in stone. I re­ally hope that is the case and they lis­ten to what the pub­lic are say­ing — their rep­u­ta­tion is at stake.”

Photo / Sup­plied

Ella and her mum Kelli Pike. Kelli sub­mit­ted on Hamil­ton’s 10-Year plan with her daugh­ter’s fu­ture in mind.

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