The currently favoured site for the proposed ‘iconic' tourism centre in Coronation Park Mount Maunganui will destroy the grove of trees the park is named after, says tour operator John Mathieson.
The unique grove of New Zealand native trees planted near the corner of Nikau Crescent and Maunganui Road, to celebrate the founding of the park back in 1937.
The land of Coronation Park reverted from railway workshop use to Crown Land at a time coinciding with King George VI's Coronation In 1937, says John. Which is why the park was named Coronation Park.
“The planting of the unique native tree grove and the Pohutukawa trees on the northern side of the Park was made to commemorate the occasion,' says John in his annual Plan submission to Tauranga City Council.
“Some of them are out the front. What do you proposed to do with those, chop them down? Goodness knows.
He suggested moving the proposed new I-site further along Maunganui Road to the middle of the park.
A basic Centre costing $4m or an "iconic" Centre costing $5m can only be justified if it Is located In a prominent, visible location, says John. Such a site exists on the Mount Maunganui Road frontage in the open area about halfway between the historic planting and the plantings to the north of the Park. This site would still be on the Bus route and provide parking along the full length of the Park frontage.
But that has been ruled out he says.
“That means of course that in terms of my submission that really if you have to rule out an alternative which we have suggested, then it only leaves site B. that means there's no choice.”
Site B is on the western side of Coronation Park in Salisbury Avenue, where the former I-site building still stands.
John's submission is supported by Forest and Bird and perhaps the Tauranga Historical Society, but he's unsure if the full membership was notified before his Tauranga city Council Annual Plan submission was made.
“There is no comparable planting of a grove of major notable native trees within the Town Centre or the wider Mount Maunganui area,” says John.
Proceeding with the new Visitor Information Centre in the confined corner of the park is inappropriate, says John. The area can be quite shaded, has restricted light and is subject to considerable ongoing leaf fall. There could be public opposition to this proposed siting
Notable New Zealand native trees forming the historic grove include: Kauri, rewarewa, totara, puriri, rimu, tarata, photukawa, akiraho.
The densely planted northern area is a dirty and unattractive place and perhaps the pond should be replaced with a waterfall or fountain, something more attractive.