Hamilton mayor Andrew King's vision of opening up the city to the river suffered a blow after councillors voted against funding a master plan for a central city park.
In the 10-year plan, Mr King proposed to buy and demolish buildings in between SkyCity Hamilton and Embassy Park to open up the city to the river, however the majority of councillors were against the proposal, and instead watered down the idea to buying and holding three buildings on Victoria Street.
The four buildings on the five properties had an estimated current market value of $4.3M. The council paid $6.49M for the properties.
At Tuesday draft annual plan meeting, Mr King proposed spending $200,000 to develop a masterplan for the area, however his motion was narrowly lost.
Mr King said in the past councils have spent a lot more on master plans for different areas of the city.
"Some of them were costing millions, and some of them that will never get across the ground," Mr King said.
"This is about something we already have, we already own the buildings, we already have a park next door that everybody loves."
"It is time to bring in a masterplan now so we can consider where we want to go and what we do with that area."
"Don't be against the masterplan when we don't know what is going to come forward yet."
However, Mr King failed to rouse enough support around the table, and his motion was lost 6-5.
Councillor Rob Pascoe, who had previously voted against buying the buildings, supported the masterplan.
"What I am pleased to see, albeit at $200,000, is a masterplan that will not only give council an idea of the city park project, but it will bring to the table the total cost of the project and allow residents to give us feedback on whether or not they support that level of spend," Mr Pascoe said.
Councillor Ryan Hamilton said it was out of place for elected members, who wanted the CBD to revitalise, not to support a plan that used Hamilton's greatest asset, the Waikato River.
"I find it frustrating too, that councillor Angela O'Leary runs a misleading social media status that says 'the mayor wants to spend another $200k on the Victoria buildings' when clearly this discussion talks about a idea of the city park project," Mr Hamilton said.
"I too thought this may have been a bit rash, but this scoping exercise would take a year to do, which would then inform our next annual plan. I don't think this is the cart before the horse, but getting our ducks in order."
Councillor Angela O'Leary said she would not support using ratepayers money on something they did not want in the first place.
Councillor Mark Bunting said he voted for the purchase of the building, but does not support the demolition.
"I signed the petition to keep the Nivara lounge where it is because I think that is the best thing for it at this point."
Later Councillors O'Leary and James Casson put a motion forward to use the $200,000, with a further $30,000, to fund moving the CitySafe officers in the suburbs, while also funding a response vehicle for that team.
The draft annual plan comes back to council this month.
Mayor Andrew King, Deputy Mayor Martin Gallagher, and councillors Leo Tooman, Rob Pascoe and Ryan Hamilton voted for spending a further $200,000 on the park masterplan.
Councillors Angela O'Leary, Siggi Henry, Paula Southgate, Mark Bunting, James Casson, and Garry Mallett voted against.