Tauranga City Council's Economic Development & Investment Committee councillors have agreed to support in principle the proposed long-term lease of the previously identified open space at northern Sulphur Point to the University of Waikato.
The commitment will enable the University to progress next steps for the marine research and educational facility.
The decision will be taken to the full Council meeting on 19 July for ratification.
Councillor and Committee Chair Max Mason is committed to keep the University’s marine research centre here in Tauranga and welcomes the direction taken.
“The discussion has shown our commitment to keep the University’s marine research centre here in Tauranga.
“When we asked the public in February and March, the supporting responses identified the opportunity for tertiary education in marine science and engineering along with the benefit to Tauranga as a whole as key to their support of a marine research and educational facility.
“A facility of this calibre will not only be a significant economic development opportunity, it will also provide tertiary education opportunities unique to New Zealand, enabling young people to study courses right here in Tauranga," says Max.
“With our commitment to take this recommendation to the Council meeting on 19 July we are one step closer to establishing this new asset for our city, adding significantly to what our city has on offer.
“The identified site remains the most feasible and should be progressed to the point where a design of the potential development can be produced.”
At the beginning of 2017 the University of Waikato approached Council with the wish to work collaboratively towards establishing an internationally sought after, multidisciplinary research and educational facility close to the city centre at Sulphur Point.
Council identified one of the areas of open space at Northern Sulphur Point as the most feasible site for this significant economic development opportunity.
Council carried out formal consultation from Monday, 12 February to Friday, 9 March 2018 regarding the proposal to long-term lease the identified piece of land to the University for the purpose of establishing a new Marine Research and Educational Facility.
The 5,600m2 site is located at the entrance to the marina at Sulphur Point. It is mainly undeveloped open space, which is used for marine activities, occasionally events and overflow car and trailer parking and is available for the public to access and use.
The proposed research centre would be distinctive to New Zealand and create the capacity to attract and host national and international collaborations and research programmes.
Significant direct economic benefits to the city are expected through growth in student, researcher and administrative staff numbers; new local and international research; development partnerships and conferences as well as the development of marine products and technologies.
The facility would put Tauranga on the map as a home of world-class research specialised in marine research, biotech and engineering, and tertiary education.
Find out more about the proposed marine facility and Council’s proposal at www.tauranga.govt.nz/marinefacility