On the face of it this is yet another waste of money as a concept plan for the park already exists as does a Reserve Management Plan. The concept plan to turn Alison Park into Waiheke’s own Hamilton Gardens was presented to the Waiheke Local Board (WLB) during their Long Term Plan submission process by a community group Friends of Alison Park (FAP).
Once upon a time, in the good old days of the first Waiheke Local Board, before money was allocated to any project there was a Council Officer’s report accompanying the item in the board’s agenda including a breakdown of costs and who would oversee the project. These reports are noticeable by their absence under this second dysfunctional WLB. The WLB are spending ratepayers’ money without any accountability, so there is no clue as to who will draw up the ‘concept’ plan and how the $9600 will be spent. Judging by their record so far it will be one of their Green Party mates or one of the many Green Party influenced ‘community’ organizations.
I hope not. This time there is a genuine community group, Friends of Alison Park, with a vision of turning Alison Park into Waiheke’s own ‘Hamilton Gardens’, the internationally acclaimed public park in the Waikato. The group has continued to refine and develop their concept. This is a community led initiative with support from Oneroa Ratepayers (MORRA) whose hall is across the road from the park. Here is the preamble to their latest update.
ALISON PARK VISION & CONCEPT
This vision for Alison Park’s further enhancement as a community asset arises from the efforts of many past Boards and Council initiatives and from the determinations of current ratepayers and residents’ dreams and aspirations for creating an attractive gateway to Waiheke. It is a long term vision with many potential projects for fleshing out. Individuals with a variety of professional and interest-based skills are bringing up project ideas for further development.
The short term management of the Alison Park plan is emerging in this way and must not be limited by early imposition of externally conceived models. It would, for example, be counter-productive and potentially fatal to prematurely lease the existing building to one external, controlling community group. The energy and creativity of the wider community would immediately be lost. Exactly how and what long term management plan will be appropriate is not yet clear.
It is clear that these projects all require a deep investigative approach to gathering the historical and cultural histories of the Island. They also draw on horticultural expertise, children’s developmental requirements, and other sensibilities.
Economic realities are always with us. No project is free of financial implications.
Just for once let us hope WLB will not act selfishly and instead look to the greater good of the community as a whole.