More than 70% of submitters to the Draft Hamilton Gardens Management Plan support ongoing development of Hamilton’s key visitor attraction.
Hamilton City Council’s Regulatory and Hearings Committee heard verbal submissions on the Draft Plan yesterday (21 August), and among the submitters in support of it were representatives of organisations with lengthy connections and commitments to Hamilton Gardens.
Representing the Hamilton Gardens Development Trust, Glen Holmes told the committee the Trust endorsed the Draft Plan, and was committed to continuing fundraising developments, working alongside the Council and Hamilton Gardens staff. The plan would further enhance the garden, and protect the unique vision and theme of the gardens, which plot the history of gardens through human civilisation. Mr Holmes told the Committee support for Hamilton Gardens continued to be pledged from people and organisations within Hamilton and further afield.
Speaking on behalf of the Friends of Hamilton Gardens, Virginia Graham told the Committee the Draft Plan would continue the momentum supporting the development of the gardens, a place she described as “a place of solace and soulfood for Hamiltonians”. She described the Draft Plan as a chance to “complete the chapters of the (Hamilton Gardens) story” and an opportunity for the community to achieve this together.
Craig and Lee Ann Muntz of Tainui Waka Tourism Inc supported the development of the gardens through the plan, and identified it as a potential platform for a cultural tourism offer connected to the Waikato River. They suggested formal performance areas be factored in to the planned developments.
Other speakers included Marilyn Yeoman, of the Garden History Research Foundation, Waikato Heritage Group’s Laura Kellaway, and Graeme Cairns on behalf of the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival Board.
The staff report presented to the meeting gave an overview and statistical analysis of the nearly 200 submissions received.
The next step in the Draft Hamilton Gardens Management Plan will see staff make any amendments to the Draft Plan, as well as provide more information requested by the Committee regarding submitters’ comments, and present a report to the 17 September Council meeting.