Hamilton's 10-year plan is not the place for out-of-the-blue pet projects such as the central city park, Hamiltonian Kelli Pike told the city council this week.
Ms Pike is a radio host at FreeFM and a staff member of GoEco, but said she was speaking as an individual when she rejected the central city park proposal.
Ms Pikeshowed the council a picture of her daughter in her presentation.
"This is my daughter Ella, and this is what we keep in mind when it we consider what we are doing and the decisions we should be making."
The park is an extension of the River Plan and was originally going to cost ratepayers $30 million. That was cut to $12.8 million during the 10-year plan meetings last year.
Ms Pike said now is not the time for big projects with a large rates rise looming.
"My main concern with the central city park proposal is it being a pet project of the mayor. There was no community mandate, and no good process taken for community engagement even to get it to the point of being included in the 10-year plan proposal," Ms Pike said.
She said the lack of transparency around the project had a dark cloud over it, along with recent news that the city CEO Richard Briggs informed only two of the property owners in the area of the council's original plan to buy and demolish buildings between Victoria on the River and Embassy Park.
"I love Victoria on the River but don't think we need to extend on it with ratepayer money." Ms Pike was also concerned that the council was throwing away its heritage. The buildings 254 and 260 Victoria Street are both classified as heritage buildings, but would be in the way of the park if the plan was approved.
She was also concerned that the cost could rise back to the $30 million proposed, or more. Ms Pike wants the money to return to the original River Plan. She said it had a better connection with the river.
The original Plan stretches from Pukete to the Hamilton Gardens with a range of projects listed such as the transformation of the Pukete Bridge, a proposed pedestrian bridge next to Victoria bridge and the Ferry Bank development.
"VOTR is beautiful, but it is 30m above the river and so isn't the connection with the awa (river) that I feel we should invest in."
"The process taken in the River Plan development was full. It took the public for the journey and I think that was key. I'd much rather the investment was in riverside. If we are to be a great river city I think we need to look after the awa and focus on actual riverside facilities, paths, signs and work and also the quality of the water and vegetation management particularly to ensure that it can respond to more frequent flooding as we have seen."
"We've had councillors say nothing is set in stone. I really hope that is the case and they listen to what the public are saying — their reputation is at stake."