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Draft plans for Hagley Park/Botanic Gardens draw strong response

7 November 2006

Around 600 people have had their say on the draft plans affecting the future of two of Christchurch’s most cherished outdoor spaces.

A flood of written responses arrived on the closing day for comments on the Draft Master Plan and Management Plans for Hagley Park and the Botanic Gardens. While this has meant only half the submissions have been  processed, common themes have become apparent, says Parks and Waterways Planner Derek Roozen.

“People have commented on some of the more controversial proposals such as making Riccarton Avenue a slow road, extending the golf course and putting a fence around the cricket oval,’’ says Mr Roozen.

“We included these concepts knowing they might get a strong reaction. The public has indeed reacted quickly to some proposals, but we don’t regret including them as we are keen to stimulate debate on all aspects of future management of, and access to, the Gardens and Hagley Park.’’

Safety, parking, costs and freedom of access to the Park are important to many submitters. 

Other main themes are:

  • Some people do not want any changes to Riccarton Avenue, seeing it as one of the main arterial routes in the city and an essential route to the hospital.
  • However, people acknowledge the difficulty of crossing between the two parts of the Park and suggest  cyclist/pedestrian underpasses or overpasses.
  • Keeping areas in the Park open, free and unfenced is important to submitters. They object to enlarging the golf course, fencing of the cricket oval and want to ensure groups do not have exclusive use of Park space.
  • Having more parking is important. People do not want any changes to traffic and parking in Rolleston Avenue between Gloucester and Hereford streets.
  • The most popular choice so far for the new visitor centre and operational facilities is the existing Gardens works and nursery site. However, some submitters have raised concerns about the budgeted cost of the centre and question the need for a new one. Mr Roozen says people have misunderstood the costings. “The $11 million is not just for the visitor/information centre, but for upgrading inadequate operational facilities, as well as for other improvements,’’ he says.
  • Some people are concerned about safety if the children’s playground and garden are located near Victoria Lake.

Mr Roozen says once all submissions have been processed  people who have indicated they wish to make verbal submissions will be able to do so.

A final report will then go to the Council.

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