Tauranga City Council is partnering with engineering consultants Beca and LandLab for its ‘Access to Water’ project – the construction of tidal stairs, Masonic Pier and a pontoon for the city’s waterfront. Detailed design is yet to be completed, but construction is anticipated to begin in July/August 2016, with completion for summer 2016/2017. The estimated cost is between $2.6 – $3.2 million.
Tauranga City Council’s long term plan 2015-2025 allocated $8 mill to be spent in the first five years for city centre and waterfront development to improve the heart of the city. This follows other projects to revitalise the Tauranga waterfront, including the Hairy Maclary sculptures honouring the work of Dame Lynley Dodd (pictured), and the proposed but failed plastic waka. Mayor Stuart Crosby says support for the Access to Water project is overwhelmingly positive.
Growth in Tauranga has been progressing – or ‘sprawling’ – outwards, expanding into new suburbs (noticeably, into Papamoa in the east). The city has previously been in the news for having the highest number of residential building consents issued (until Christchurch took over) and more recently, the price of housing in Auckland has resulted in further interest in Tauranga. The lack of inner city development and rise in suburban centres has seen Tauranga’s ‘downtown’ struggling in recent years. The Council will be hoping its focus on waterfront development will assist businesses in the city centre by increasing foot traffic, keeping people in town rather than over the bridge at the beach.