NEW ZEALAND - HAMILTON - THE PEOPLE PUSHING BACK, VICTORY FOR DEMOCRACY
A swell of love for a lawn space has pushed back a decision on Hamilton Gardens redevelopments.
Plans to move a car park onto the site of the Rhododendron Lawn riled many gardens lovers, and concerned users such as the Hamilton Gardens Arts Festival.
Hamilton City Council's idea was to create space for more themed gardens, a better entry point for the gardens and to ease traffic congestion on busy days.
But, after a groundswell of support for keeping the lawn where it is, city councillors have handed off the decision to the next council - to be elected in October.
There was a packed public gallery in council chambers on Thursday afternoon, when councillors were due to say yes, no, or not now to the plan.
Councillor Mark Bunting suggested delaying the decision so the community could have more time to have a say, and councillors voted 8-4 in support.
Earlier, they'd heard about concerns from Creative Waikato and the Hamilton Garden Arts Festival Trust, and that a later decision would simply slow down the start of the work.
Council would also have to talk to a potential sponsor to see if that would affect their interest in the project.
Those who voted against putting off the decision were Crs Ryan Hamilton, Garry Mallett, Rob Pascoe, and Leo Tooman.
Cr Paula Southgate had put in apologies for the meeting.
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