Entry fee put on hold for Hamilton Gardens
The Hamilton Gardens proposed development split the city council as Mayor Andrew King used his casting vote twice during 10-year plan deliberations on the the project.
Councillor Dave Macpherson moved a motion to request that the Hamilton Gardens development trust present a proposal for a Gardens development plan, as signalled in their submission to council.
The motion, which was passed, will also see the completion of the Hamilton Gardens based on the 2017 Peter Sergel strategic proposal.
The council will use a target rate over 10 years to raise $10 million while the trust has said it will fundraise $15m to help pay for the development. The council will also consider an entry fee for international visitors to the gardens, but no specific time frame was set.
However, an amendment was first put up by Councillor Angela O’Leary to have no entry fee and an “Enhanced Koha” which would see signage put up across the exits of the gardens and encourage visitors to pay what they think it was worth.
This amendment caused a hung vote due to the absence of Councillor Garry Mallett at the time, Mr King used his casting vote against the amendment.
A second amendment was then put up by Councillor Paula Southgate that the council agree to the development of a minimum of four new gardens, for only $7m.
Again, the amendment was a hung vote and Mr King used his casting vote to knock back the amendment. The motion was then passed with Crs O’Leary, Southgate and Siggi Henry against.
Cr Dave Macpherson said the motion would not seek extra money from the ratepayers.
“The issue of charging is a really difficult one and it is too soon to face that. The actual resolution says that we will get a report back on it,” Cr Macpherson said.
Councillor Mark Bunting, who supported the motion, said the Hamilton Gardens Development Trust offer of $15m swayed him.
Cr Southgate was concerned about all of the council’s money being sucked into one community project rather than being spread out.
“I support the vision, it’s amazing and we are so blessed to have someone like that in the city, I am aware that this is just the first of the community projects we are discussing,” Cr Southgate said.
Councillor Geoff Taylor supported the motion because he said the money was going to come from somewhere else.
“It is the same principle for me as the Waikato Regional Theatre, it is just a logical and sensible way to go about it,” Cr Taylor said.
Mr King challenged those who said residents did not want a gate charge, referring to public consultation where 52 per cent of people ticked that they would support a gate charge.
The proposed Egyptian Garden for the Hamilton Gardens.