1 Nov 2011

Proposal to remove roses provokes outrage

12:18 pm on 1 November 2011

One of the country's most well-known rose enthusiasts has joined the local rose society in opposing a plan by Hamilton City Council to cull an award-winning rose garden.

The council is considering getting rid of the Rogers Rose Garden, as well as removing five civic fountains and reducing garden maintenance in order to trim $2.2 million off its parks budget as part of $14.5 million in spending cuts.

Council chief executive Barry Harris says it needs to reduce its costs because of years of overspending.

He says the council should not resile from the fact some of the options will be unpalatable and the community will respond.

Internationally renowned rose breeder Sam McGredy says the garden is of national significance, and if the roses are destroyed they will be gone forever.

Jenny Gallagher, who has been a member of the Waikato Rose Society for more than 25 years, is horrified at the suggestion the garden should go.

She says the society's 300 members are prepared to fight any move to rip out the 4200 roses.

Society president Jenny Pike says the national rose society will be opposing the move, as well as local societies in Matamata and Te Awamutu.

The council says removing the garden is just one of many options being presented to councillors and ratepayers will be consulted before a decision is made.