The article below came through as a Comment on our Memorial Gates article. ( Scroll down to August 10.) Because of the public interest about the unannounced removal of the original 1963 gates, we have decided to publish Amanda Cox’s Comment in full on the home page.
Resolving issues with KUSMT
By Amanda Cox, Parks Manager, Greater Wellington Regional Council (GWRC)
GWRC has met with representatives of the Kapiti United States Marines Trust (KUSMT) to resolve issues relating to the removal and replacement of the Heritage gates in Queen Elizabeth Park.
While communication on the issue has not been as good as it could’ve been, both parties acknowledge an enduring and extremely good working relationship that has seen them achieve a great deal together.
We regret any upset this has caused.
Upgrading the Mackays Crossing entrance
The Queen Elizabeth Park entrance gates were removed as part of the current upgrade at the Mackays Crossing entrance way.
This is also part of a regional programme to introduce automatic gates at key park entrances to improve park security, reduce ongoing contractor costs, free up park ranger time, and keep costs down for ratepayers.
GWRC investigated automating the original gates but they had been damaged over time by car collisions and we did not regard this as a sustainable option.
Also, the weight of the gates was gradually damaging the brick columns on which they were hung – making them increasingly hard to shut.
In commissioning the new gates, the Council made every effort to keep the look and feel of the older gates, while making them fit for purpose.
Working to maintain the Marines heritage
Park staff left the gates near the park nursery, because they were too heavy to lift manually and an appropriate heavy vehicle was needed to pick them up and take them into storage.
The gates were safely stored away about three weeks ago.
There is a lot more historic interpretation relating to US Marines history to be done in the park.
Both parties are interested in seeing the original gates re-installed in the US Marines Memorial precinct which is currently being developed further along Whareroa Road.