Council opposes school application

Tauranga City Council is opposing a resource application to build a 700 pupil private school on a former kiwifruit orchard in Pyes Pa.

The proposed private school is to be sited in Western Bay of Plenty District Council territory, at the intersection of Keenan and Pyes Pa Roads.


The Academic Colleges Group has applied to build a private school for up to 700 students in Pyes Pa.

The city council objection is based on the site being located in a future urban growth area (Pyes Pa South), identified in SmartGrowth Strategy and in the Regional Policy Statement.

The purpose of the planning documents is to ensure growth occurs in an integrated manner so that land use, infrastructure provision and infrastructure funding are aligned.

The plan is for development to begin in the area after 2021. But SmartGrowth didn’t anticipate Psa-V, and a rush of kiwifruit orchards selling cheap.

Historically, where urban growth was located on the district boundary, it has then been absorbed into the city council boundary.

Currently farmland, the area is zoned residential and subdivision consent has been granted for the development for residential purposes.

As the area is within the urban growth limits, the landscape character of the area will change over time from a working rural landscape to an urban landscape.

The Western BOP District Council obtained a legal opinion from Cooney Lees and Morgan in respect of the proposal and the city council objections.

It states schools are not classified as urban activities and are community facilities that can be located in urban or rural areas.

The legal opinion also notes schools are intentionally excluded from the calculation of dwelling yields, so it cannot be assumed the whole of Keenan Road is to be given over to residential development for the purpose of calculating infrastructure funding.

Cooney Lees and Morgan go on to say they don’t think the urban growth provisions of the regional policy statement are intended to capture the establishment of schools.

Consultant planner Anna Gardiner says there’s insufficient evidence to conclude that the proposed school will have adverse effects in terms of infrastructure provision or funding.

The hearing, held at the WBOP District Council offices, was before independent commissioner Russell De Luca, who reserved his decision.

Because of the statutory holidays the decision is not expected to be known until January.

The applicant is NZ based independent school group, Academic Colleges Group, which bought the 14Ha block earlier this year and announced plans to build in August.

The secular group’s plan is to develop an independent school offering education from Year 1-6 at first with the school roll growing in two year increments after that.

“It will be an independent secular school, co-educational, and of course we are still working out the details of the curriculum,” says ACG group director of marketing Kim Harase.

“But we will be offering the Cambridge international curriculum, as we do in our Auckland schools.”

The school’s catchment includes Tauranga and the Western Bay of Plenty townships.

The ACG Group’s first school opened in Auckland in 1994. The group now has five schools in the Auckland region and two international schools in Asia.

Stage one of the Pyes Pa proposal is to establish three building modules on the future sports fields for primary school purposes, the future sports fields, outside play areas, vehicle access and carparking areas and utility buildings .

Following expansion of the roll, the remainder of the development will be undertaken, which will include the relocation of the primary school modular buildings and the establishment of the larger permanent primary school block, secondary school block, ECE facility, administration block, gymnasium, hard courts, sports field, sports pavilion, horticultural building, boarding facility and additional carparking.


10 Comments

How about answering the questions Murray?

Posted on 19-12-2013 19:38 | By Mychoice

For years developers had it good in Tauranga and ratepayers picked plenty of the cost of development as far as I can see. But let’s stick to this application. Murray Guy, who was consulted about this proposal? Which residents, orchards and businesses? Is it a locality where kiwifruit is or has been sprayed for instance? And please back up your statement that there will be no impact on an existing environment and road network? In my opinion that is not the case. There will be an impact. It is a private business and I think the proposal should fully fund any roading or other requirements, not the ratepayers.

Let them build

Posted on 19-12-2013 10:26 | By expatAucklander

Why is this even being argued? For anyone who has done any research on ACG schools around NZ (or even globally)you see that their schools are consistently at the very top of educational achievement. They want to open a school in Tauranga? Let them! Just because some rubbish council planning committee is getting antsy about possibly grey but ultimately legal land zoning shouldn’t stop what would be a fantastic opportunity to improve the caliber of schooling offered in the region. Time to ditch the Tauranga habit of whinging about the cost of everything and recognising the value of nothing.

sambo and mychoice, are you for real or a wierd sense of humor?

Posted on 19-12-2013 00:13 | By Murray.Guy

None of the stormwater / flooding issues are the fault of any developer. It is NOT the developments of more recent times that are having issues. Council has encouraged intensification, taken the fees and rates, but failed to upgrade their existing infrastructure - end of! As for comparing an existing intensified residential A area at Bureta serviced by local residential roads with Lower Pyes Pa and Keenan Rd, a green fields areas serviced by a state highway and in the Western Bay of Plenty Council area, I’m at a loss as to how anyone with sincerity could have such a flawed understanding - not a bitter TCC staffer by any chance?

Theodorus

Posted on 18-12-2013 22:22 | By Theodorus

These schools are very expensive to attend and what will happen if a state school that is free likes to be established in that part of the city?

@Mychoice

Posted on 18-12-2013 18:04 | By Sambo Returns

I totally agree with you, this city is rife with "Council" rolling over for developers, a fair percentage of our cities storm water issues are due to no care no responsibility attitudes by many developers, the same will happen here with traffic.

What better neighour?

Posted on 18-12-2013 16:10 | By

A school is only open for 9 months of the year, has limited hours (unlike a supermarket or pub) and has the grounds and buildings well maintained. Traffic is only heavier during peak times, unlike shops. I would live next door - no problems.

Just looking for fairness Murray

Posted on 18-12-2013 14:59 | By Mychoice

The traffic effects of a school will be substantial Murray, but as your main concerns over Bureta were consultation can you tell us who was consulted over this school, as it will effect anyone travelling along Pyes Pa Rd? I don’t want to see permission given, then ratepayers or taxpayers having to stump up for roading improvements for a private school business. Please answer as to how the 700 student school will have "no impact on an existing residential environment and road network" because that’s what you said.

Mychoice, you've lost me?

Posted on 18-12-2013 12:38 | By Murray.Guy

Are you of the opinion that the residential area and location of Bureta has the same characteristics to that of Keenan Rd,Pyes Pa? PS: Your motives are somewhat as suspect as your judgement, but I’ll give you the benefit of the doubt - My main concern in regard the Bureta Supermarket was the refusal of the City Council staff to consult the affected community, and I would be equally concerned if I felt the school proposal was not appropriately consulted on.

If Murray Guy says it's ok it must be?

Posted on 18-12-2013 09:47 | By Mychoice

Interesting to compare Murray Guy’s pronouncement that the proposed private school will have no impact on existing residential environment and road network, with his stance on other proposals. I seem to remember a big deal over a supermarket replacing a pub and bottle store, all because the underneath zone was residential not commercial??? Also of course the traffic. Contrary to what Murray Guy says, I believe a 700 pupil private school (commercial) on residential land will have an impact on the neighbourhood and on the roads. We all know how roads choke up before and after school.

Surprised at TCC, well, perhaps I'm not!

Posted on 18-12-2013 09:20 | By Murray.Guy

Strategically very well located with direct access to Pyes Pa Road, and will certainly encourage greater use of Rout k toll road. No impact on an existing residential environment and road network. Where would TCC (Smartgrowth) suggest?

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