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Tauranga’s waterfront development plan has council approval with work on transforming The Strand reclamation expected to begin next autumn.

Work could have begun earlier, but it would disrupt a number of waterfront events scheduled over the coming summer, says Tauranga City Councillor Larry Baldock.

The plan for Tauranga’s waterfront. 

The plan for Tauranga’s waterfront. 

View full plan here: proposed_plan_waterfront.pdf

The project sees a waterfront walkway/cycleway from Dive Crescent to the boat ramp at the southern end built, plus grassed and planted areas along the harbour side of the reclamation car park.

The $625,000 project replaces a previous plan estimated to cost $23 million.

While the council has obtained consent for the $23 million plan, which includes a 5m-wide wooden walkway built out over the harbour on piles, the reality will be more modest.

The walkway from Dive Crescent to the southern boat ramp will be a 3m-wide boardwalk built on land.

“It is a very, very good investment of a small amount of money,” says Larry.

“Instead of spending $20 million, it does send a signal that we are serious about reclaiming the waterfront.”

Larry and councillors Tony Christiansen, Bill Grainger and Terry Molloy, and TCC chief executive Ken Paterson, strategic planner Adele Hadfield, and Duarne Lankshear from Priority One, are part of the waterfront taskforce, which will now consider how to encourage a mixed community/commercial development.

The consent allows construction at the Dive Crescent end, the southern end, and near the Edgewater Fan.

The taskforce will report back to the Tauranga City Council in more detail for the Ten Year Plan discussions in November.

Funding comes from the cancelled Coronation Pier project at $400,000, plus $120,000 from the Coronation Pier infrastructure project.

And about $105,000 from the waterfront project, which will pay resource consent costs.

The key elements are seen as the harbour front walkway, a southern space that can support events and temporary activities while maintaining use of the boat ramp.

There will also be minor adjustments to the Edgewater Fan to make it more attractive to small scale commercial activities and a repaint.

There is also to be a central space that can support events and temporary activities while continuing use as a car park.

“It’s a step in the right direction at long last,” says Councillor Catherine Stewart.

Councillor Wayne Moultrie says it is “one small step”, Councillor Bill Faulkner says the waterfront will at last be a people friendly place “except on days when it is screaming from the west”.

Mayor Stuart Crosby says the first stage of the waterfront project is an ideal way to create a public area that can be used for a variety of events and activities to bring people into the city centre.

“This is an excellent example of the commercial and public sectors working together.

“We have come up with a solution that enables an important development for the city centre to go ahead with a realistic budget for the current economic environment.”

Mainstreet Tauranga manager Kirby Weis says the staged approach shows fiscal responsibility and a collaborative plan that allays some members’ concerns while still providing a waterfront that Tauranga can be proud of.

“Mainstreet Tauranga supports the waterfront project as it is a strong and positive step towards developing Tauranga city and will provide a wonderful asset, a purpose built event space and greenscape connecting the water to the city centre,” says Kirby.

Priority One chief executive Andrew Coker says the Tauranga waterfront will in time attract people and commerce, much like Auckland’s Wynyard Quarter and Viaduct Harbour.