Chinese garden plans moving ahead

Brendan McMahon

Brendon McMahon
of the Hokitika Guardian

Plans for Chinese gardens at Ross and Kumara are inching ahead, with the project now hinging on public funding to top up money already raised.
The entire project to commemorate the early Chinese gold diggers and storekeepers, who came from the Guandong province to the West Coast goldfields in the 1870s, is expected to cost $200,000.
Project co-ordinator Simon Tam said a very successful fundraising dinner staged in Christchurch in February had raised over $100,000 for the project.
That money, with items already donated, meant the garden project already had the main structural features required. That included elements of the design for both gardens such as the resting place pagoda, stone lions, and bridging, he said.
Quotes to to put the gardens together were now being secured.
“Once they give us the quotes we can go from there.”
Those prices would help form the basis for an application for Development West Coast MDI funding, via the Westland District Council.
Ground work for the Kumara garden, on State highway 73 at the town’s eastern entrance, has already begun following formal unveiling of a foundation stone there in early March.
A similar formal ceremony to launch the Ross garden has yet to be held.
It may occur later this month, depending on availability of various Chinese Government officials and other representatives.
Mr Tam said the entire project was to some extent “on hold” until applications for MDI funding opened next month.
“Now we need the funding for the actual work — once they give us the quotes we can go from there. Everything is about the money, but we have the money for the materials.”
The project was a staged one and he was confident money would arrive as the gardens were developed, Mr Tam said.
“It just depends on the funding. If we get what we want, then
the plan will go ahead as planned.”
Mr Tam’s role was to support and facilitate the initial project with maintenance of the gardens once completed falling back to both communities, he said