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Key Decisions To Shape Tauranga’s Future

Tauranga City Council commissioners will consider a number of key decisions at next Tuesday’s Long-term Plan (LTP) Amendment and Annual Plan Deliberations meeting.

Following consultation on the draft plans and hearings on the 1181 submissions received, issues and options reports have been prepared covering potential decisions on each consultation topic, plus other matters raised through community feedback and an executive report.

Significant matters include a decision on how Te Manawataki O Te Papa – the refreshed Civic Precinct masterplan – will be implemented; whether to use a new infrastructure financing and funding approach for Transport System Plan projects and infrastructure that would accelerate housing development opportunities in Tauriko West; and a proposed rating structure review that would see the commercial and industrial sector contributing a fairer share of funding for the transportation activity.

The Civic Precinct issues and options report recommends the inclusion of the full masterplan, as a single-phase staged development with a total cost of $303.4 million, in the Long-term Plan (LTP) amendment, subject to achieving 50% of the funding from sources other than rates-funded debt. The report proposes that a planned waterfront playground upgrade be included in a separate Dive Crescent and Waterfront Reserve upgrade project, much of which would be delivered within the 2022/23 financial year. The report also confirms that the Civic Precinct development should have appropriate governance, business cases and decision gateways for each key project, with specific consideration to be given to community feedback around the size and scale of facilities; sustainability opportunities; and softer, greener design elements.

Of the 628 submitters who provided a response to the Civic Precinct option questions posed in the LTP amendment consultation document, 72% supported option 1 - the full implementation of the masterplan (library & community hub, civic whare, museum, exhibition and events space, waterfront development and landscaping elements), with 20% preferring option 2 (library & community hub, civic whare and landscaping elements). Other submitters (549) provided written feedback but did not choose an option, including 419 duplicated form submissions which opposed both options.

Also recommended for inclusion in the LTP amendment are Infrastructure Funding and Financing (IFF) proposals for key transport projects and Tauriko West infrastructure, subject to further reports on the outcome of the finance proposals. The IFF model allows infrastructure to be funded and financed without increasing the Council’s debt levels. If the arrangements proceed, funding costs would be recovered from levies on the properties benefiting from the projects involved. Eighty-four per cent of submitters on the Tauriko West proposal supported applying for IFF funding, while 81% of submitters supported IFF funding for transport projects.

If adopted, IFF funding of $200 million would be sought for priority transport projects, including stage 2 of the Cameron Road multi-modal upgrade, Hewletts/Hull/Totara sub-area improvements, Turret Road improvements and the Papamoa East Interchange.

The Tauriko West IFF proposal would see $60 million sought to contribute to the cost of infrastructure to enable housing development, subject to continuing engagement with key stakeholders, including landowners and developers.

The report on rating policy proposals recommends that the Council approves an increase in the commercial and industrial general rate differential from 1.6 to 1.9 in 2022/23, with a further proposed increase to 2.13 in 2023/24; and an increase in the transportation targeted rate from 1.6 to 3.33 in 2022/23 and then a proposed increase to 5 in 2023/24. The second-year changes would be included in the 2023/24 Annual Plan process. Those changes would see the sector paying for half of the transportation activity costs by 2024, which aligns with the commercial use of the roading network. Of the 605 responses on the rating fairness options set out in the consultation document, 90% of submitters supported a change, with the majority preferring that the increased commercial differentials be phased in over two years.

Following the Deliberations meeting, any recommendations approved by the Commissioners will be included in the LTP amendment and Annual Plan documents which will then be considered at a Council meeting on 27 June. If adopted, the changes involved would take effect on 1 July.

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