En­try fee put on hold for Hamil­ton Gar­dens

Waikato News - - NEWS - Tom Rowland

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.

Photo / Supplied

The pro­posed Egyp­tian Gar­den for the Hamil­ton Gar­dens.

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