Smiths farm connection settled

The new connection to Smiths Farm won't be built for sometime. Photo: Supplied.

The alternative access to the Tauranga city council's Smiths Farm special housing area is approved, but won't be built until the New Zealand Transport Agency builds the Tauranga Northern Link.

But the real news for city councillors is that the land may instead of providing homes for hundreds of people may instead be required for its original purpose – sports fields.

“As you recall in the draft long term plan there are land purchases set aside for active reserves in Te Tumu and somewhere in the western corridor,” says city and infrastructure planning manager Andrew Meade.

“Those land purchases and the subsequent development of those sites are quite extensive and in the western corridor particularly there are limited options in term of acquiring land in good locations.

“So it is a small possibility that we may have to revert to thinking of Smiths Farm in that context again. We just want to signal that now.”

Work is under way to consider the options and staff expected to be able to inform councillors before the long Term Plan is finalised.

Meanwhile, councillors have approved the alternative access via Richards Way. The original access via the end of Westridge Drive was firmly opposed by lifestyle block Westridge Drive residents who didn't want the traffic volumes generated by the proposed urban special Housing area using their semi-rural access.

The protests resulted in the city council having another look at the access via Richards Way earlier discounted because of the expensive earthworks involved.

The current plan is to use material from the TNL project which will connect with Takitimu Drive north of Smiths Farm. Construction on that project is likely to begin in 2019 and is a four year project.

“From today it will be four or five years to have that road completed,” says Andrew.

The Smiths Farm access will go under the TNL, and not connect directly to it.

The approved plan also includes four new 3000m2 lots at the end of Westridge Drive to act as a buffer between the Westridge properties and the Special housing Area.

Replying to a question from Catherine Stewart Andrew says the access and utilities connections will be the same whether Smiths farm is sports fields or a housing area.

The latest cost estimate for the access road (including utilities and services) from NZTA's consultant BBO is $5.9m. The draft 2018-28 LTP financials include a more conservative figure of $10m based on a peer review of an earlier BBO costing by WT Partnership for TCC for the access road, plus a further $700,000 for water supply and a wastewater rising main.

NZTA have previously indicated that a subsidy of approximately 21 per cent could be available for the access road costs. To confirm this a funding application to NZTA is required using their business case approach.

Income to TCC from Smiths Farm will be determined by a number of factors including whether TCC sells the land for development, partners with a developer or undertakes the development itself.

TCC has previously engaged consultants to assess the value of the site for housing development. This information is commercially sensitive and has previously been supplied to elected members on a confidential basis. It confirms that there is a strong financial business case for construction of the access road.

Councillors approved the option that the NZTA will build the access road.



8 Comments

Geto or not?

Posted on 25-01-2018 21:41 | By MISS ADVENTURE

The result will be the same, the crime will appear from no where and become rampant as a crime haven and hotbed just like Papamoa East that was built in the same way.

@ Murray

Posted on 25-01-2018 11:51 | By MISS ADVENTURE

They wont do it because it is logical, they will do the opposite.

Obvious better access

Posted on 25-01-2018 02:35 | By MISS ADVENTURE

Would be via Route K, simple join on to the planned roundabout already shown and intended to be built, how simple could it be and so much better. Obviously cant do that!

firmly opposed by Westridge Drive residents?

Posted on 25-01-2018 02:33 | By MISS ADVENTURE

For the obvious reasons they did indeed, that was for fact that TCC previosuly "PROMISED" that access would not occur via Westridge Road. Yeah I know TCC/politician promises change like the wind ... But regardless teh initial traffic plans confirmed that Westrifge could not cope with any more traffic anyway so TCC has kind of shot itself in the foot and had to back up as it should and finally did.

The bottom line is

Posted on 24-01-2018 23:02 | By The Caveman

That land is in a gully/swamp ! NO amount of dranage etc will overcome the drainage/swamp problems and sooner or later, the COUNCIL will be in the GUN for consenting development of COUNCIL OWNED LAND for housing. Sports field YES, housing NEVER. I know that bit of dirt from 45 years ago. It's part of the FLOOD plain for the valley.

Ghetto

Posted on 24-01-2018 19:14 | By maildrop

Nothing special about it. One road in, no road out. Crammed in like sardines. Yuk

Spare us PLEASE from their incompetence!

Posted on 24-01-2018 19:02 | By Murray.Guy

Smiths Farm ORIGINALLY was also the location of, NOT ONLY sports fields to meet our cities growth, BUT ALSO a 'cultural facility' as an entry point to our City. In the construction of the toll road authorizes cut through a 'Pa Site' (beggars belief in this day and age) but with a Museum and Cultural facility in mind this Location TICKS all the boxes - Views of Mauao, historic and cultural significance, excellent profile for visitors and locals to be proud of, excellent parking, easy access, direct access to a highway, and grounds to develop with NO impact on existing residential. Unfortunately while meeting the needs of the community and providing 'best overall outcomes', it doesn't stroke the ego of the CBD manipulators. With Tauriko now in the pipe line there is absolutely NO valid reason why TCC ratepayers should be in the affordable housing business on this site!

Not in our lifetime

Posted on 24-01-2018 18:33 | By backofthequeue

If this proceeds on a similar basis to the Special Housing Area approved two and half years ago for the old Golden Grove site in Bayfair then expect nothing soon. Land bankers are having a field day while the Council look the other way. Museum anyone?

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Enjoying Tauranga’s waterfront. Photo: Scott K MacLeod.

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