The fate of a kiwifruit orchard bought as a possible town centre site for Omokoroa is to be investigated by Western Bay of Plenty District Council property management staff.
At a strategy and policy committee meeting this week the council was told the 5ha orchard at 344 Omokoroa Road was bought by council four years ago for $3million and now has a capital value of $1.4million.
An aerial view of Omokoroa.
Council’s resource management manager Phillip Martelli reported submitters to the council’s long term plan wanted a commercial area developed on the corner of Tralee Street and Omokoroa Road, not on the orchard site.
“Council purchased the Des Forges property to ensure any commercial developer would be required to deal with council in an overall development of the commercial zones area of the Omokoroa Peninsula.
“This would ensure that the community’s requirements in terms of the development of the centre, would be taken into account,” his report read.
Phillip says the aim of the purchase was to prevent a `big box’ type of development.
However, based on submissions, it appeared the community wanted its commercial centre to be on the corner of Tralee Street and Omokoroa Road, closer to the harbour than to the main highway.
The cost to council of retaining the orchard is approximately $210,000 a year. Council receives $63,000 from tenants on the Hayward green kiwifruit orchard which has two houses, sheds, and out buildings. It is zoned commercial and should it change hands, the new owners would pay rates based on that zoning.
“It is considered that in today’s market it would be reasonable to expect a price of approximately $1.5million, assuming a willing buyer and willing seller situation,” Phillip reported.
Retaining the property would ensure owners of other commercial property on the peninsula didn’t hold a monopoly on commercial land and council could ensure the development of a `best practice’ town centre.
Selling the land could result in the loss of around $1.5million and the lack of ability to control town centre development. The committee voted to ask council’s strategic property management staff to further investigate the options for the orchard.