Hamilton Gardens 1999 to 2028 – Long term budget

Dr Peter Sergel undertook a study trip in May and June, 2018, visiting gardens, specialist libraries, museums and universities. One focus of the trip was learning more about the next group of gardens planned for the Hamilton Gardens, including the Ancient Egyptian, European Picturesque, German Baroque, Medieval, Roman, English Landscape and French Parterre gardens. This involved trips to Egypt, England, France, Germany and Austria. He also met a number of garden managers to learn how some of the leading gardens in England, Singapore and America operate and address a variety of issues.

Imagine if Dr Sergel was given the freedom Baron Haussmann had in Paris; imagine if we allowed his imagination to overflow Cobham Drive into Grey St and across the river link into the Glenview Club/Peacockes area. Imagine if he was allowed to reimagine Ulster St – Te Rapa Straight. However this post is about Hamilton’s long term spending, looking 2 decades back and 1 decade forward. The 2015-25 and 2018-28 budgets have been generous.

Here is a snapshot of the Hamilton Garden’s management plans from 1999, 2014 and 2019

Hamilton Gardens Draft Management plan 1999 page 21

The Hamilton Gardens draft management plan from 1999 included 29 gardens, of which 19 were existing, 1 under development and 9 proposed.

The Hamilton Gardens operative plan 2014 included 32 gardens, of which 3 were under development and 9 proposed gardens were arranged in five garden collections. The draft plan received a total of 411 submissions. Of note is the reference to the primary objective of areas classified as Recreation Reserve: − “to allow the public freedom of entry and access”.

The Hamilton Gardens Management plan was not due for review for about decade after the 2014 Hamilton Garden Review. A early first review in 2019 of Hamilton Gardens draft management plan included 32 gardens, of which 15 were existing, 8 under development and like past plans 9 proposed. A key strategies of this early review was ‘to ease parking congestion’ (page 10) to the point car-parking becoming the centre of the Hamilton Gardens landscape. In 2020, a revision of Hamilton Gardens draft management plan was put to the community again which received 875 responses, common themes such as parking, alternative modes of transport and developing pedestrian access across the river was of interest to the people of Hamilton.

One proposed garden that does stand out is the E.6 BEE MEADOW – ‘that provide[s] food for bees and butterflies’. The Hamilton Gardens Bee Meadow idea should be seen as a benchmark example to be replicated throughout the city. Link to English web site on ‘Start a wildflower meadow’ 

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