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Cornwall Park hearings begin tomorrow

Cornwall Park

Cornwall Park holds a special place in the hearts of Hastings residents, and many took the opportunity over the last six months to provide feedback on its future.

Tomorrow, the Hastings District Council will consider that feedback at its hearings on the draft Cornwall Park Reserve Management Plan, which sets out a vision for the park and a number of actions to bring that vision to life.

Covering 8.3 hectares, Cornwall Park is one of Hastings’ oldest and most established parks, containing features of cultural, historic and environmental value and significance.

These include 23 protected trees, sports fields, John Holt Memorial Display House, Osmanthus Gardens, children’s playground, duck pond, stream, and bird aviary.

The draft plan outlines the Hastings District Council’s intentions for the use, management, development and protection of the park over the next 10 years, underpinned by the desire to ‘protect, manage and enhance the natural, cultural and historic character of Cornwall Park as the premier recreation park of the district’. 

It was prepared following extensive community consultation, including open days, and survey responses from more than 150 members of the community.

Once compiled, it then went out for further consultation, and tomorrow the council will consider another 57 submissions (including a group submission from the 107-member Friends of Cornwall Park) that were received, most of which supported the plan in its entirety, while some suggested amendments. 

Most of the submissions related to the future use of the former historic tea kiosk building when the current lease to Cornwall Park Playcentre expires towards the end of the year, with consideration as to whether this could be used for wider community use. 

Council officers have worked extensively with these submitters, and members of Cornwall Park Playcentre, to come up with a solution.

All of this feedback has been incorporated into the draft plan where possible and has resulted in a $2.8 million programme of work over the next four years.

Although initially $1.5m was budgeted for the first stage of a premier playground upgrade, new toilet and enhanced duck pond and stream, the council also asked for a further $1.3m of unbudgeted items to be considered at the same time, including the second stage of the playground, a playground shade, new accessible pathways, bird aviary enhancements, extra lighting, and event seating.

This additional funding would be subject to the Annual Plan processes.

Friends of Cornwall Park spokesperson Marina Dinsdale said the group commended the council for its efforts, and desire to improve the area.  

“Cornwall Park is one of only three iconic features within the Hastings City, with its natural beauty and historic significance.

“The man-made bridges, seats, ponds and stream banks are an everlasting memorial to all who lost their lives in the 1931 Hawke’s Bay earthquake. “ 

Hastings mayor Sandra Hazlehurst said the Cornwall Park Reserve Management Plan is an opportunity to make significant improvements for the future of this area.

“Cornwall Park is already one of the most loved parks in the Hastings district and it now has the potential to become one of the best parks in New Zealand.

“There are some really passionate people in our community who have some exciting ideas for Cornwall Park and the level of feedback about this plan has been amazing.

“We are looking forward to hearing from the community tomorrow.”

11 March 2019

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