The gates to the Dunedin Chinese Garden could soon be thrown
open, as part of a new scheme offering Dunedin ratepayers
free access to the city's cultural attractions while tourists
are required to pay.
The Dunedin City Council yesterday confirmed it was
considering offering ratepayers free access to the garden,
bringing it into line with the city's other council-owned
At the same time, admission charges for the same attractions
could be introduced for all non-ratepayers, including
overseas tourists. Council city strategy and development
general manager Sue Bidrose told yesterday's council
pre-draft budget meeting non-council attractions, such as
Olveston and Otago Museum, could be invited to join.
''I could see this becoming a fairly inclusive thing, in
time,'' she told councillors.
The change would acknowledge that residents already
contributed to the cost of the garden through their rates
bills, she said.
Council staff had begun investigating a scheme for other
council cultural attractions and decided to include the
garden after suggestions from councillors during this week's
non-public budget workshop.
A report by garden manager Margo Reid - made public earlier
this week - outlined changes to lift the garden's financial
performance and minimise the cost to ratepayers, but made no
mention of cutting entry fees.
However, an updated report presented yesterday included the
possibility of free access for ratepayers. Dr Bidrose said
the new approach to cultural facilities would be investigated
over the next few months, but work would not be completed in
time for the coming financial year's budget.
It was agreed council staff would continue working on changes
to the garden's management, including a merger with Toitu
Otago Settlers Museum.
Staff would also investigate whether the repayment of a $1
million ''gift'' from the council could be switched to a more
appropriate council budget, and other changes.