Te Puna residents have launched a 10-year plan to guide the future direction of their community.
The Connectors group of community representatives has built a framework of actions for the next three, six and nine years to steer Te Puna's social, cultural, environmental and economic development.
The Te Puna Community Plan records the aspirations of locals and identifies actions for implementation over the 10-year timeframe.
The group consists of people from Pirirakau Hapu, Te Puna Heartland Incorporated, Te Puna School, environmental groups and stakeholders in the local economic sector.
The Plan is the outcome of community discussions, open days and work already identified by Heartland Incorporated and the Pirirakau Hapu Management Plan.
Independent community adviser Karen Summerhays, who supported the Connectors in the plan's development, says it is a robust bicultural strategy that provides opportunities for all residents to play their part in creating a future-proof Te Puna.
“This community-led plan is a baseline document that will support local organisations in their bid for improved social and environmental services. It identifies the area's strengths and areas for improvement.''
Western Bay of Plenty District Council community relationships advisor Glenn Ayo says Te Puna is a predominantly bi-cultural community that is very aware of the pressures from significant residential growth on either side, both in Omokoroa and Tauranga.
The Plan seeks to ensure the rural character of horticultural/ agricultural land interspersed with tribal lands is not sacrificed to the pace of growth.
“This plan represents the voice of the people and is about them taking ownership for the way their community is shaped. That includes residents, business people and Tangata Whenua. Many families have lived in the area for a long time. With the changes happening around them it is their time to have a say in the way Te Puna responds,'' says Glenn.
Te Puna is similar to other Western Bay communities that have developed plans for guiding their future. Omokoroa launched its 10-year plan this month.
These plans are a reference for Council, other community groups and non-government agencies in their planning of work programmes. They can also be referred to in submissions to Bay of Plenty Regional Council, New Zealand Transport Agency and the western Bay of Plenty sub-regional growth management strategy SmartGrowth.
The Te Puna Plan will form a submission to Council's Long Term Plan (LTP) 2018-2028 and will provide the basis on which individuals or groups can make submissions to the draft LTP when it is released for community consultation in March 2018.
The Te Puna Community Plan can be viewed at: www.westernbay.govt.nz/tepunacommunityplans