The public is encouraged to have their say on a new proposal to reclassify an area of land at Marine Park, Sulphur Point in Tauranga.
The point of the proposed reclassification is to allow a marine research and education facility to be housed on the site.
Opened yesterday, the Tauranga City Council consultation asks people whether they object to or support the reclassification of a small area of land (about six per cent of the reserve), to be reclassified from ‘recreation reserve’ to ‘local purpose (marine research and education facility) reserve’.
Reclassifying the land would allow a marine research and education facility to be located there in the future, says a statement from the council today.
Reclassifying the land, rather than revoking its reserve status, also maintains the protections under the Reserves Act 1977 and will not impact Council’s ownership of the site.
“It’s important that the community has the chance to have their say on our proposal as we believe the facility would play a key role in contributing to growing a sustainable economy that improves productivity and delivers prosperity to local people and communities,” says council's strategy and growth general manager Christine Jones.
“The proposed facility would also enable increased research opportunities into innovative and sustainable responses to the effects of climate change to protect one of New Zealand’s most precious taonga - our beautiful marine environment.”
In 2018, the council consulted with the public on a similar proposal for the land, however that proposal sought to revoke the reserve status rather than reclassify it.
“Reclassifying the reserve will provide the community with more assurance that the land will remain protected by its reserve status and under council ownership.”
Christine says the reclassification, if approved, would be part of a master planning exercise for Sulphur Point and Marine Park – through the Council’s Marine Facilities Framework – to address the competing needs of the community to have access to the water.
“We recognise the growing demand from the community to have access to the water.
“Council has included funding in the recent Long-term Plan for new boat ramps at Sulphur Point. The Marine Facilities Framework, which is currently being developed, will help guide where and when these facilities are required and what else may be needed to provide opportunities for our community to access the harbour.”
If the reclassification is successful, entities that are able to demonstrate the capability to establish and operate a facility will be able to apply to lease the land through a tender process.
It’s intended that parts of the marine research and education facility would be open to the public for a range of educational activities and the extent of this would be set out through the tender process.
Marine Park is 114,285m2 in size.
The proposed area for reclassification is 7000m2.
The community can have their say here www.tauranga.govt.nz/marinefacility until Monday, June 20.