Chinese Garden won't get second shot at the council table
The newly-formed Invercargill Ratepayers' Advocacy Group wants to stop the Invercargill City Council's Chinese Garden, but the council has other ideas.
The garden pegged for Queens Park came into question in March, when some councillors said they wanted the decision reviewed.
At a workshop councillors have conceded the garden will go ahead without a second consideration.
A cost breakdown provided by the council's parks division says preparation, design and construction services would cost $50,000, landscaping and plantings $70,000, and structures $480,000 - a total of $600,000.
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Council chief executive Richard King said the councillors' consensus was that the garden decision would go ahead.
At the workshop, councillors were given a briefing on the annual plan which approved the garden, and why the previous council had agreed to it.
King said while he did not believe all councillors were happy with the idea, it would not go to the council again.
The ratepayer group's opposition to the garden would be played by ear, he said.
"We would be happy to give them any information they need."
Work on the garden had already started, King said. A delegation from Suqian would visit Invercargill in May.
"They will want to see what progress has been made."
The Invercargill Ratepayers' Advocacy Group has met twice.
Group spokesperson Nobby Clark said their list of issues included the Chinese Garden, the "ongoing deterioration of the CBD" and the non-use of Anderson House and the water tower.
However, Clark said it would be unrealistic to tackle all issues at once.
At the group's most recent meeting, it was suggested the Chinese Garden be the group's first project.
Group members wanted to attend as many meetings as they could, so they could be informed and "keep councillors honest", Clark said.
"We want to be in the position in the next elections where we can recommend certain councillors for re-election."
Cr Lesley Soper, who attended the workshop, said she was in favour of the garden going ahead.
"We had a good discussion about the reasons for the former council making the decision and why we should continue with that project.
"I am very positive about that project. It's a reciprocal project for our sister city Suqian."
Most councillors now felt "comfortable" with the project, Soper said.
The garden would have tourism potential and could also be used for weddings, Chinese New Year celebrations and Chinese Tea Parties, she said.