Tauranga’s City Centre

Photo: BOP Times

We’re a bit worried about who’s left at Disneyland, because Mickey Mouse and Goofy seem to have moved to Tauranga and taken over urban planning!

If this paywalled article in the BOP Times is correct, then “Greerton Village could be Tauranga’s future city centre”. Which will be news to the people of Tauranga!

This is the latest in a series of announcements in recent years trumpeting council’s plans to revitalise the city centre. Now it seems the city centre could be on the move, or maybe we’ll have two city centres? Where does TCC’s $324 million civic redevelopment fit into this picture?

A few people actually raised this question about the ideal location for a city centre during the ‘UFTI‘ workshops a couple of years ago, when a select group of ‘stakeholders’ were invited to discuss the 50+ year plan for Tauranga’s future development. Those people were quickly shut down and firmly told that moving the city centre (and suggestions to move the airport and the racecourse) was “not on the table”, and the consultants refused to note that feedback.

The biggest problem is that ‘SmartGrowth‘ plans were made without ever involving the people who matter most: the people who actually live in Tauranga and the Western BOP. The key decisions are made by nine councillors (or commissioners), three government ministers and four tangata whenua reps – sometimes in closed rooms – without any consultation at all with local communities. Tauranga is the only NZ city not to have consulted on its urban development and transport plans, so that needs to change now.

Since the UFTI plan was signed off straight after the first Covid lockdown in 2020, we’ve repeatedly heard that TCC’s priorities are to develop the CBD and its surrounding residential areas, to invest over $300m into their civic redevelopment project to “get the heart of our city pumping”, to spend hundreds of $millions on Cameron Rd, and to support the $1.5 billion of private investment into the CBD.

We’ve also been told that we’ll effectively end up with three city centres, in line with UFTI’s “connected centres” model: the main CBD, plus other city centres in Tauriko and Te Puke-Paengaroa.

Now, out of the blue, we’re told “Greerton Village is expected to be transformed into Tauranga’s future city centre”. That might be a great idea, but surely the time for that to be discussed was during the development of the UFTI plan.

This all raises a few questions…
1. Do TCC and SmartGrowth know what they’re doing?
2. If so, could they please let us all in on their thinking?
3. Does this mean Greerton will be the main city centre instead of the CBD, or the second city centre that UFTI showed at Tauriko?
4. Will the civic redevelopment and stadium at the Domain now be put on hold, while they/we decide the final location of our city centre?
5. Who will pay for the shift and develop the new city centre (infrastructure) at Greerton?
6. How does this impact TCC’s $billions of planned transport investments?
7. What do CBD property owners think?
8. What do Greerton businesses and residents think?
9. What do Mana Whenua think?
10. Is that even do-able at a practical level?

We think this is the latest in a series of mis-steps that shows we need a review of UFTI and the SmartGrowth plans for future development of our city. UFTI is not fit for purpose and will perpetuate an unsustainable, high-carbon growth agenda.

UFTI talks about needing to develop greenfield growth areas and intensify existing residential areas. That comes at a big cost. While councils have drawn up plans for urban sprawl up the Kaimai for the next 50 years and TCC is making massive investments into the CBD, there is no realistic plan to actually get intensification happening in Te Papa and Otumoetai. And now, if the BOP Times is to be believed, council has hatched a new plan to move the city centre to Greerton, which appears to directly conflict with their UFTI plan.

We’re calling for a immediate review of all urban development plans, and a full public consultation process for the existing SmartGrowth and UFTI plans.

7 comments

  1. What a total catastrophy. No-body knows where all these different ideas come from. Even the actual one the commissioners want for the current CBD is ridiculous. Moving it to Greerton, even more ridiculous. Next they will come up with Pap East. FGS – everyone needs to be on the same page. Tga now appears to be such a total mess up, I give up. All I know is that my rates have become unaffordable for a single person on the super in a little 3 bed batch.

    1. We agree with your key point Michele: everyone needs to get on the same page. The only way we can see for that to happen is for TCC and SmartGrowth to do a proper consultation process on UFTI and genuinely listen and respond to community feedback – not just do lots of tiny online consultations on different projects, which don’t make sense when you put them together with the UFTI plan.

  2. I think this is meant to read, “Greerton to be a ‘satellite’ city centre. Commissioner Tolley made this comment in discussion to validate the high jacking of the racecourse reserve.
    In itself somewhat counter-productive as open green space for any intensified shopping, business, living precinct would be considered a critical component.

    1. It’s a misleading headline and first paragraph if that’s what was meant. However our point still remains, which is that would still contradict UFTI, which we were told explicitly and repeatedly was planning for Tauriko to be the (secondary) city centre in south-west Tauranga (hence the bigger circle on the map above) and Greerton only a smaller centre, like Otumoetai or the Hospital Precinct” (hence same sized circles). That distinction has huge implications for transport investment etc.

      It also still highlights an ongoing issues for TCC:
      Hardly anyone knows anything about the background to council’s expensive growth plans, so it’s hard for TCC to convey nuanced information and get informed feedback if they only consult with a select few and then rely on the media to inform the wider public. Hence our repeated call for genuine, meaningful public consultation on UFTI and the growth plan, rather than piecemeal engagement on all the little plans that lie under that master plan.

  3. The ideas and schemes that Councils,commissioners, BOPRC, consultants, etc, promote for Tauranga’s future are a distopian mixture of hairbrained offshooots of 1960’s outmoded planning of a yester world of limitless resources. Transportation linking CBD, suburbs, regions and inter-city is’nt about convenience or commonsense (as it seemed over 70 years ago). It’s about wealthy corporates, councils, consultants & vested interests profiteering ensuring ongoing enrichment by foisting a consumerist economy ensnaring the population “forever” to no option but road dependency.
    This rampant consumerism of 2020’s evidenced by record sales of cars, trucks, buses, oil, fuel, rubber, tar, batteries, constructions with ever more grandiose roading, civic grandeur, buildings/stadium? There are no benefits to general citizens, yet outcomes are pre- known being congestion, road liabilities, increased emissions and importantly Roads only option creates communal inequity. This commerciality and lack of political will summarises the inexplicable reasons why Tauranga and regions does not have a cohesive transportation solution embodying efficient modern rail for the needs of residential and industrial expansion. Many mass rail-transit successful examples can be copied for Tauranga oso it is not “rocket science”. Despite submissions for rail transit solutions, all have been ignored & totally dismissed by Authorities/ politicians forging ahead with $billions expenditure on more roads and buses. (Recreating Auckland or LA traffic nightmares) With Road as only option, reducing emissions to meet Council 2031 targets is a fantasy.
    Considering “Omni-solution Submission No: 992, mass rail transit, properly implemented has the potential to cut emissions drastically. Thus, freight & passenger rail, light rail must be urgently actioned as the dominant robust transportation backbone (supplemented by roads). It is longer good enough to dither for years or just add rail to a futuristic wish list. In 2022 NZ needs brave & visionary leadership with urgent action to make mass rail transit a reality for the benefit of all citizens and the environment.

  4. what does ufti even mean in the first place .
    it would be nice that all of tauranga knows bout this

    1. UFTI stands for the “Urban Form and Transport Initiative”. It’s basically the master plan driving all development and transport planning in Tauranga and the Western BOP for a 50+ years timeframe. You can see more at the links in the article, or go to ufti.co.nz.
      It directly drives all transport projects and spatial planning. Hence we want to see the public given a say – not just the couple of dozen people who decided to give us a high carbon plan without asking the people who live here what they want.

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