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Chinese Garden proposed for Invercargill at cost of $590,000

Source: stuff.co.nz

A Chinese garden is being proposed for Invercargill's Queens Park to provide a link to Chinese sister city Suqian - but it comes with a price tag of $590,000.

Invercargill City Council parks and reserves manager Robin Pagan said delegates from China want the park underway in the next 12 months.

The city council's 2016 annual plan consultation document says the garden will cost $570,000. Speaking on Thursday, Pagan said that figure had been adjusted and the cost of the garden would be about $590,000.

Chinese gardenThe cost of the garden would be covered by funds set aside in the long-term plan for Queens Park specialist displays, from parks special funds reserves development, and from surpluses in the park's business unit, the consultation document says. The garden would have no impact on rates. 

The majority of the cost would go towards structural work, Pagan said.

"We've had a reasonable breakdown of that [the budget] and one of the more complicated ones is the structures because they've got to look as close as possible to the authentic Chinese ones."

The multiple structures included shelters and entrance ways, Pagan said.

"Some could be built in China and brought down here and installed."

Landscape artists from sister city Suqian helped to organise the design, Pagan said.

"When they turned the Christmas lights on at that stage the planning people came out too and we made some changes [to the plan]."

Council would consult with the public on the garden, Pagan said. The details of the design were to be refined.

It was important culturally for sister city Suqian to have a presence in Invercargill for visitors and students from China, Pagan said. 

Landscapers and delegates from Suqian were eager to make a start on the garden.

"The idea is to do it as quickly as possible," Pagan said.

"It depends on a few details but I would say in the 12-month period." 

The garden would be situated near the aviary.

Chinese garden 2"As an attraction for residents and visitors to the area it would be fantastic." 

The garden would provide a permanent link between the cities, Pagan said. 

A Southland-based landscaper said while he had not seen the annual plan draft, he thought $590,000 seemed a reasonable price tag depending on the size of the garden. 

A second landscaper said $590,000 "seems a lot of money" for a garden in Queens Park. 

Pagan said Dunedin had a "very large and expensive" Chinese garden. 

Dunedin's Chinese garden, on a larger scale to Invercargill's proposed garden, was built in 2008 and cost $7 million to construct.