Rumour has it that the Board has already decided to lease the building to their mates in various guises thus ensuring the populace as a whole is largely excluded. It would be a great loss to Waiheke if their narrow-minded, kid-centric philosophy blinds them to the possibility of making the park and building into a genuine community asset once they vacate the refurbished premises.
Here is a document of real vision from long time Waiheke resident Anne Kilgour. The challenge to the Board is to stop looking after their own and start looking after everyone.
Play and Picnic in the Parkland Reserve
Alison Park is a Recreation Reserve. It is also becoming an oasis of beautiful natural parkland on the approach to Oneroa. In my teaching and Playcentre days leading researchers were saying that trees, hills, sand and natural outdoor parklands were the best children’s playgrounds.The latest trend in playground design is returning to that same conclusion. Alison Park, which was a scruffy rubbish dump in the 1950’s, has been transformed to its present attractive and nurtured state by successive Council and Board initatives. The trees are climbable, the slopes could have long safe slides down them, skateboard routes could be formed in the natural contours. The swings could be in the trees. No artificial plastic play equipment is needed.
I recommend that the Board and Council continue to make Alison Park a model children’s playground on this very public corner of Oneroa’s gateway. It will surprise and delight local parents and children and visitors alike.
The completely refurbished former Bowling Green Pavilion will be available for public use when the Board Offices have been rebuilt in Ostend. The park can then have a Tea Kiosk, open to all, as do the wonderful parks in Hamilton’s Sillary Gardens and Pukekura Park in New Plymouth. The commercial kitchen can be a café and gathering place for the elderly, for parents of children in the park and also for public gatherings , catered dinners or small conferences. It could be a fund raising venue for a whole range of community groups. The Tea Kiosk is an integral part of the park and belongs in the development plan. The building work has been done by the Council to a high commercial standard. It is ready to use. All ratepayers and residents can access, benefit from and enjoy the asset which our rates have provided.
There is more. A mini golf course could be created on the former bowling greens. There can be open fronted stalls around the perimeter of the golf course for community groups to hire for quality market days and fund raising initiatives. Similarly the Te Kiosk by day can be hired for fundraising events, quiz nights and community gatherings at night. It is a ready made family and community hub on the route into Oneroa . The natural amphitheatre behind the buildings, where the tennis courts were earlier, is an outdoor performance area. Fruit trees and herb gardens can also be planted and tended.
Alison Park is potentially an awesome asset for all our community to enjoy. Visitors to the Island will also benefit from it. I recommend that this open and beautiful environment be made a welcoming facility for all of us for the years to come.