Chinese Garden may finally get go-ahead in proposed Frank Kitts Park redevelopment
It's taken two decades, but Wellington may soon have a Chinese Garden.
Plans for the often maligned Chinese Garden have been in the works for over 20 years, with previous designs for the 2006 Waitangi Park construction deemed unsuitable.
The Wellington Chinese Garden Society, who have been pushing for the garden, are "pleased" with the garden's inclusion in the proposed revitalisation of Frank Kitts Park, which is up for resource consent.
"Wellington has been home to Chinese people for nearly 150 years," said Esther Fung, a member of the society.
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"[The garden is] tangible recognition of the Chinese contribution to the development of Wellington and New Zealand."
Featuring a traditional Pai Lau archway, multiple 'chambers' and a tea house style cafe, the garden will tell stories of New Zealand's Chinese history.
"It's not just a Chinese story... it's the story of every community that comes to New Zealand," Fung said.
"[The garden] is a gift to the city, to be used by everybody."
Projected to cost $5.5 million, there is already $2m secured from Chinese interests in Wellington's sister cities, Xiamen, Beijing and Tianjin.
Xiamen, our first Chinese sister city, has promised to "supply everything above ground", including the tea pavilion and artisans to build the gardens.
The rest of the funding will come from a joint council and garden society fundraising effort.
"It's about time we made really good progress on this garden," Wellington Mayor Celia Wade-Brown said.
"We've been really increasing the strength of the relationship with our Chinese [sister] cities, in terms of clear economic benefit
"The clearer the economic benefits the more willing people are to help."
Along with the installation of the garden, Frank Kitts park will be levelled to meet the waterfront promenade, the playground will be renewed and memorials "respectfully" relocated.
Wade-Brown confirmed the iconic seagull slide will remain a feature of the new playground, relocated to the northern end of Frank Kitts.
She said the redevelopment project was already budgeted for in the council's long-term plan, but her office did not confirm the total cost of the project.
It was indicated that it will be about $5 million, not including the Chinese Garden.
The resource consent application for the revitalisation project was lodged on June 2, with submissions open until July 1.
Council spokesperson Richard MacLean said only two submissions have been received so far, one in support and one in opposition.