Challenge to council's Papamoa plans

The 11ha for re-zoning. Photo: Google Maps.

Updated: 27/3.Papamoa residents are fighting a Tauranga City Council proposal to rezone flood reserve land in Papamoa East for housing.

Announced in December 2016, the proposal is to rezone 11 hectares of land owned by Bluehaven Holdings that is currently active reserve

Resident John Middleton says at least 11 hectares beside the TEL is active reserve that will be required by the future population.

“This one was actually a large playground, 11 hectares on the motorway almost where the houses run out. A large open area with a swale going though it, and a hay barn.

“That area we’re really brassed off about it. They have just taken it upon themselves without any consultation. I don’t think Papamoa residents really know what is going on."

Tauranga City Coucnil says Plan Change 25 proposes for some areas of land within the Wairakei Urban Growth Area to be rezoned to residential. This includes an area of land currently zoned as Active Open Space. This 11ha piece of land is owned by Bluehaven Holdings, not by Council, and has never been owned by Council. The land is currently being leased for grazing and is not available for public use.

It goes on to say the proposal to rezone the land to residential is aligned with Council’s level of service for the provision of Active Reserves. Active Reserves are primarily used for organised sports and events. It’s the sportfields you take your kids to for Saturday soccer / hockey / rugby / cricket. Like Gordon Spratt Reserve. A 20ha active reserve is planned to be built in Te Tumu, further down the coast, once the area is open for development.

“Because of the government directive for Special Housing Areas, my understanding is the planners have just earmarked this and said we will just take this 11ha and we will shove another 180 houses in that block.

“There will be social issues in the future. They are claiming the Gordon Spratt Reserve is close enough –well, four or five kilometres, it’s not.

“Kids will either not have the resources or inclination to bike down, or the parents haven’t got the inclination to take the kids down to Gordon Spratt Reserve.

“Once this land goes its gone forever, and there are going to be social problems in that area all because the council wants to pursue their own ideals and get these SHAs underway.”

John, who previously made Papamoa residents wishes known to council through PEERS – the Papamoa East Evacuation and Road Safety group, is also concerned about the effect of the proposed plan change on evacuation routes for Papamoa East.

For the thousands of people living east of Parton Road, Papamoa Beach Road is their only exit – until the completion of Te Okuroa Drive.

While the Tauranga City Council is proposing to create large amounts of additional housing in Papamoa East, it is closing off evacuation routes for the people who will be living there, says John.

“The council have taken it upon themselves to reduce the exit from those subdivisions from four lanes to two lanes down Te Okuroa Drive, they just decided that they would do it. The land is still provided but they are only paying for two.

“In the meantime they’re collecting all these subdivision impact fees and they are putting bugger all back into it - or they are waiting till they can do a deal with the NZTA to get an interchange onto the TEL.

“So all the Papamoa East people have to try and get out of Papamoa East either on Papamoa Beach Road, or by the end of next year on a two-lane Te Okuroa Drive.”

The law requires the council to consult on the plan change in order to change the status of the flood reserve land.

Under the old plan, the council was required to hold the extra land for flood mitigation. The new draft plan uses the Wairakei Stream as a flood overflow into the Kaituna River, reducing the need for the council to keep what it says are high maintenance stormwater ponds.

Aurecon is credited with finding a way to reduce the stormwater storage from 100 per cent to 40 per cent, while reducing the expected land area for the ponds from 55.5ha to 32ha – freeing 23.5ha for development at a current value of about $2 million per hectare.

Submissions on the proposed plan change 25 closed on January 31.

Taurangaa City Council says all developers in the Wairakei Urban Growth Area are required to meet the requirements of the Papamoa Comprehensive Stormwater Consent. One of the requirements of this consent is to provide stormwater storage to mitigate the effects of development. This is generally achieved through the provision of stormwater swales or ponds. The Wairakei Structure Plan ( indicates the general location of stormwater swales. The stormwater swales are vested in Council as a stormwater reserve after subdivision.  This land will be retained in Council ownership. In addition the Council is buying the land along the Wairakei Stream Corridor as a stormwater reserve.

The Papamoa Comprehensive Stormwater Consent has recently been varied, notably to reduce the level of stormwater mitigation storage required from 100% to 40%. Plan Change 24 ( sought to align the City Plan provisions with the amended Comprehensive Stormwater Consent, and became operative in October 2016.

Earlier planning for stormwater management in Wairakei, based on the 100% mitigation concept, envisaged that the land previously planned for active reserve would be used for providing mitigation storage. This is no longer the case and each land owner is now required to provide their own swales or ponds.

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1 Comment

It's Unbelievable

Posted on 20-03-2017 14:30 | By Anbob

Under the Local Government Act TCC should promote the accountability of local authorities to their communities and should conduct its business in an open, transparent, and democratically accountable manner. With Plan Change 25 the Council wanting to change the existing plan, ridiculously cram houses, remove reserves and already provide for the plan change in the City Plan Maps, demonstrates the Council doesnt care about its ratepayers or responsibilities under the LGA. How can Smartgrowth and TCC insist on the passive reserves and employment in all previous approved plans and consents, to suddenly about face. I noticed only Smartgrowth and the developers support the plan change. Mr Middleton, I suspect you and the overwhelming number of submissions against Plan Change 25 are going to lose out to Council token consultation. Planners should be held personally financially accountable for acting in bad faith if the area turns into a slum.

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