Wellington's controversial Chinese Garden goes on the backburner for 2017

Images of the proposed Chinese Garden. Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the garden was not likely to happen in the ...
STANTIALL'S STUDIO LTD/SUPPLIED

Images of the proposed Chinese Garden. Wellington Mayor Justin Lester said the garden was not likely to happen in the coming year.

The controversial Chinese Garden planned for Wellington's waterfront will not be blooming in the near future.

Fundraising has yet to start and Wellington Mayor Justin Lester does not see the garden as a priority.

An independent commissioner approved resource consent for Wellington City Council to begin a $10.5 million revamp of the Frank Kitts Park in 2016.

The city council is keen to progress with upgrading the play area at Frank Kitts Park.
JOHN NICHOLSON/FAIRFAX NZ

The city council is keen to progress with upgrading the play area at Frank Kitts Park.

The development includes a $5m Garden of Beneficence, which will be funded by the Wellington Chinese Garden Society with support from the capital's sister cities Xiamen, Beijing and Tianjin.

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But in December, lobby group Waterfront Watch lodged an Environment Court appeal against the consent, saying it would take away open green space in a prime waterfront spot.

Wellington Chinese Garden Society has yet to start fundraising for the $5m needed for a new Chinese Garden in Frank ...
STANTIALL'S STUDIO LTD/SUPPLIED

Wellington Chinese Garden Society has yet to start fundraising for the $5m needed for a new Chinese Garden in Frank Kitts Park.

Lester said any movement on the development was not likely to happen in the coming year.

"The Chinese Garden Society is still fundraising and there is still a big gap, so that is not a live option at the moment."

His current priority when it came to Frank Kitts Park was expanding the children's play area.

Images of the proposed redevelopment of Frank Kitts Park, including a Chinese Garden.
STANTIALL'S STUDIO LTD/SUPPLIED

Images of the proposed redevelopment of Frank Kitts Park, including a Chinese Garden.

"For me personally, that is certainly something I want to get onto soon," Lester said.

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Deputy mayor Paul Eagle said the council was waiting on the outcome of the Environment Court appeal before making any big decisions but the council should be able to forge ahead with its plans for the playground.

"The inner city needs more play areas," he said.

Wellington Chinese Garden Society chairman Harvey Wu said proactive fundraising had not started yet and was waiting on the outcome of the resource consent appeal.

The appeal was the "last impairment" to fundraising, he said.

But the community was hoping to launch a fundraising drive with the mayor in March, he said.

Some donations had been received in kind and from sister cities but he did not know what the full contribution from the cities would be.

He believed it would be possible to raise the funds needed for the garden.

"Bear in mind the cost. This is a best estimate and we think it is high because of the demand on the construction industry."

Lambton Ward councillor Nicola Young said after the Kaikoura earthquake, it was clear there were other priorities the council needed to be getting on with.

"It is clear the public has no appetite for changes [to Frank Kitts Park] other than to improve the children's park."

 - Stuff

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