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June 5, 2018 | by  | in News Splash |
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Trash & Dash

Piles of rubbish left behind after a party on 26 May at the Botanical Gardens has left a Wellington resident concerned and frustrated. The litter left behind included cans, bottles, cardboard, and broken glass. The party was allegedly the second one that week.
The resident said “most people consider the Botanic Gardens to be a much-loved treasure and a wonderful asset to Wellington. I find it really sad when small groups trample over that”.
Parties at the Botans have been happening for “several years,” he said. He said that mess left from parties at the gardens in the past has included vomit, urine, and furniture, including a couch and a broken camping table.
Nina Hogg, president of the Vic House Environment Club, said having drinks in the Botans or in Kelburn has become tradition, and it “seems like the only option when you’re poor”.

She pointed to a lack of safe, free venues for students to go drinking as a reason why many head to the Gardens. “Halls kick [students] out at 10pm, or they find that [the Gardens] is an easy spot for everyone to access”.
Richard MacLean, spokesperson from the Wellington City Council, said the parties were “not necessarily students”. However, Nina said the last party, at least, was student led, as her friend had recognized it as “some mate’s 19th”.

“I feel really sad that students are trashing the Botans, that’s our-my reputation” said Hogg. “I want students to be seen as making change. we’re the ones who are leading the sustainability movement 27 May, Remembrance Ridge, Wellington Botanical Gardens so it seems kind of silly that we’re the ones with the most trash in public places.”
The resident said he wished to see a change in student culture, suggesting that environmentally-minded students could have Botanic Garden clean-ups as well as beach clean-ups. Hogg said that was an event she is willing to host. She said that the Environment Club had previously hosted a clean-up at Kelburn Park, collecting 16 bags of trash.
MacLean said that the council gets ongoing complaints about trash in the gardens. They don’t keep an “absolute record” of complaints, saying that while there are cases of rubbish and vandalism, it “doesn’t happen every weekend”.
The Council patrols the Gardens regularly during summer as they know it’s an “attractive place for an al fresco party”. MacLean said he was surprised that the parties are still happening as winter arrives. “It’s normally a summer thing, as it’s pretty cold in the Gardens this time of year,” he said.
MacLean said that the council was not planning to change the liquor licensing laws around the Botanical Gardens. He said the council “can deal” with the issue. He then added “but it would be nice if you could give a message to any students who are going to party at the Botanical Gardens, please don’t treat it as a rubbish dump… don’t expect people to come clean up after you”.
Custodians hired by the Council are expected to clean up any rubbish or vandalism in the Botanical Gardens.

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