Tauranga to decide on the civic precinct’s future

An artist's impression of the proposed civic precinct. Photo: Tauranga City Council.

The people of Tauranga are being asked to decide if they want to create a 'vibrant, exciting city centre” as part of the long-term plan consultation.

The civic precinct, Te Manawataki o Te Papa, is being heralded as a 'once in a lifetime opportunity” for Tauranga and two proposals are being put to the community for feedback.

The first is a full master plan that involves a single-phase staged development of the area between Wharf Street and Hamilton Street in central Tauranga.

It includes a library, museum, civic whare (a venue for council and community meetings), an exhibition space and upgrading Baycourt Community and Arts Centre.

Option 1 has an estimated cost of $303.4 million and build timeframe of 6 to 7 years.

It will also include the development of the waterfront reserve, between Hamilton Street and Wharf Street, linking the harbour with the civic precinct via Masonic Park.

Option two is a scaled back version that will include a library and community hub and the civic whare, with a cost of $126.8 million.

Commission chair Anne Tolley. Photo: John Borren/SunLive.

Commission chair Anne Tolley says the annual plan and long-term plan amendment contain some 'quite exciting opportunities for the city”.

'It's for the people who live in the city to decide, based on their comments to us over the last 12 months, do they want to be part of creating a vibrant exciting centre city,” says Tolley.

'Or do we just want an ordinary civic centre and rebuild the library and do a bit of landscaping.”

Tolley says option 2 is a 'valid choice” and it's up to the community to have the discussion about what should be at the heart of their city.

Te Manawataki o Te Papa, means the heartbeat of the Te Papa peninsula, which runs from Greerton to the city centre.

Stephen Selwood.

Commissioner Stephen Selwood says it is 'an incredible opportunity for the city”.

'We've spoken at length about the positive impact this will have not only on the city centre, but the wider economy of the city.

'It is not only a fantastic amenity for the city, it will have a significant positive impact in terms of the growth and dynamics of the CBD and the role that it plays in this really important city.”

In terms of funding the large undertaking, half the cost would be debt-funded and financed through rates. T

he rest would come from other sources such as government grants, the sale of non-core council assets and sponsorship.

Council has already committed $83 million in the long-term plan for the library redevelopment, so a further $67 million would need to be funded by the community if option 1 is selected, says commissioner Shadrach Rolleston.

Shadrach Rolleston.

'That is a significant investment overall for the community,” he says.

'I understand from a ratepayer perspective and from a community perspective some concern about the impact on rates.

'We have to think about this in a broader context in terms of what we're trying to seek and deliver for our city in terms of the city centre, but also the way the city develops and evolves into the future.”

Option 1 would mean the median residential ratepayer paid a targeted rate of $265 per year and the median commercial ratepayer paid $705 in 2030, when the precinct is operational, according the draft LTP documents.

Option 2 would mean the median residential ratepayer paid a targeted rate of $105 per year in 2030 and the median commercial ratepayer paid $281.

The draft LTP document says the rates increase happens very gradually in the early years as the capital projects are constructed.

Selwood wants people not to have a 'very narrow focus” on the percentage increase in rates.

'We are investing in the future of the city, yes it costs money,” he says.

'But if we don't invest properly, then we'll pay in so many other ways in terms of a city that is not prospering.

'That's the sort of city and CBD we saw when we came here and we want to turn that around.”

Consultation on the draft annual plan and long-term plan amendment begins on March 25 until April 26.

-Local Democracy Reporting is Public Interest Journalism funded through NZ On Air

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The silk purse from the sow's ear.

Posted on 24-03-2022 16:43 | By bigted

Ugly. The "artists impression" is very romantic impression indeed. High building facades that like prison walls. The area is already a wind tunnel and is a very unpleasant place to be in winter. If we must, invest in the present carpark area with harbourside eateries etc, and enjoy the great views.


Posted on 24-03-2022 16:44 | By jed

How can the council be trusted to make a decision that is not corrupted by building owners and developers? I don't trust this council a single inch.

What thats not got option C

Posted on 24-03-2022 16:51 | By an_alias

Option C - Yeah we do none of the above ? We dont need a museum thanks. At least you have told us a cost. How are we able to loan this money when we were meant to be at max borrowings and why. we had a 17% rates increase ?


Posted on 24-03-2022 17:03 | By dumbkof2

plan a. a back door way of getting a not wanted museum


Posted on 24-03-2022 17:19 | By Let's get real

Not one of the ratepayer funded empire building constructions will ever break even, let alone make a profit. So the fudging has begun with no mention of running costs, increased staffing requirements and increased building costs before a sod is turned. No mention of how expensive it is to run a museum, but it will undoubtedly dwarf the current cost of storage for bits of rock and stone in atmosphere controlled conditions. Why isn't there a queue of development companies knocking on the council chambers doors asking for the chance to develop the land at their expense in exchange for the opportunity to build profitable projects such as hotel rooms, a Casino and retail services...?

The future

Posted on 24-03-2022 17:43 | By surfsup

Can we just sort out the basics, getting the Council to attend to grass verges is impossible. Sort out rubbish dump as wee need more than one then look at lovely new buildings

Looks Ugly to me

Posted on 24-03-2022 18:11 | By Kancho

Doubt we will actually get a choice as no elections so no candidates who can represent any discussion for or against opinions or options. All ratepayers are for is to be taxed to pay for everything . Looks like rate hikes for many years to come so increases in rents too . Remember it's central government control . So when the by election comes remember to vote and not for them. Jan may be a nice person but she's working for the wrong gang .

Once dead - forever dead

Posted on 24-03-2022 18:55 | By Equality

You can only kill a thing once! All the money in the world will not create a miracle. The city has died - ratepayers DO NOT WANT any more of their money poured into holding up a project that will not work. We have satellite 'towns' in our suburbs - easy access and free parking and all the big shops that are usually located in a city. No-one in their right mind will return to the 'dead centre'. Do NOT use ratepayers money for yet another folly. Why bother making a submission - you will never listen - you with your fancy incomes never give a thought to the 'man in the street' on a fixed income. Tauranga is not a 'city' any more - it is served by delightful satellite 'towns'. Face facts you highflyers out there on your pedestals.


Posted on 25-03-2022 08:46 | By dumbkof2

tolly and mahuta will tell you what you are going to get. not what you want

Nothing democratic about the Commissioners

Posted on 25-03-2022 09:01 | By The Sage

They always call for input and submissions however do what they want to anyway. Rates went up 15% last year and now they are proposing another increase of 13.7%. That makes close to 30% increase in a two year period. Wake up people.

No thats not all the options

Posted on 25-03-2022 09:37 | By an_alias

How about we get a chance to really vote Tolley rather than the 4 getting paid for nothing. Why not stand Tolley and see how popular you are ? Say we give you a choice between what we say you can have. We can now understand the USA saying "no taxation without representation".

Return Tauranga

Posted on 25-03-2022 13:03 | By Kancho

The town centre to a smaller seaside village with open spaces , entertainment etc to be enjoyed. If you need civic buildings then out of town on bus linked green site just like Surfers Paradise area or even Manukau city. Why cram into a restricted peninsula with terrible connectivity. Dumb to continue with over priced centre

This is insulting.

Posted on 25-03-2022 13:03 | By morepork

"I understand from a ratepayer perspective and from a community perspective some concern about the impact on rates." No, you don't. You have NO IDEA of the impact your grandiose delusions have on ordinary people who are sick and tired of being "cash cows" for the dreams of an unelected Commission. Your snouts are so far in the trough that you have your eyes shut. It is an old ploy to offer several options and require one to be chosen, rather than to discuss ALL options, including NOT doing CBD refurbishment (at the moment), or pushing it down a set of priorities that people are much more concerned with. As discussed previously, get a list of possibilities for ongoing work and let the Community prioritize them. THEN you can discuss options for agreed priorities, which MAY include CBD upgrade.

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