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Community Feedback Shapes Tauranga's Future

Tauranga City Council Commissioners have taken onboard the feedback from the community following proposed changes to increase fees and charges in the city.

Consultation on the proposal, which includes sports field and community lease charges and tenancy fees at the Historic Village, was undertaken as part of the 2024-2034 Long Term Plan, with deliberations on the submissions received taking place on Monday (4 March).

“We have heard from the people, and we have listened,” says Commission Chair Anne Tolley.

“It is evident the proposed fees – particularly the proposed match fee – will make community sport unaffordable for many people and could lead to some clubs becoming financially unsustainable,” Anne says.

“Community sport is a valued resource provided and valued by the ratepayers. It helps build our communities.”

The proposed fees had a club paying nearly $7000 for training and nearly $19,000 for matches for the season.

“It is now proposed that match fees be excluded, to make the charges more affordable. We also propose delaying the introduction of the fees until the 2025 winter sports season, to align with the season structure and membership fee collection.

“In addition, our revised proposal is that a 50% discount would be available to ‘emerging sports’ with less than 100 participants, which have been established for less than five years, and where over 10% of participants are from low socio-economic backgrounds.”

The Council also decided that community leases on reserves needed to be more equitable.

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Feedback through the submissions process and via community meetings strongly suggested that the proposed fees were unaffordable for many community organisations.

“We appreciate that affordability is a major issue for community organisations, and that needs to be addressed while Council also seeks to achieve a better balance between rates and non-rates revenue,” Anne says.

Council received over 500 submissions from tenants at the Historic Village opposing the proposed charges, with the majority stating that the increases involved will either force them to close, reduce their service levels to the community or move out of the Historic Village.

“We will now provide a community-focused rate for tenants who provide community and social wellbeing outcomes and remove the on-charging of significant operational costs,” Anne says.

“A capped square-metre policy will resolve any significant increase faced by longstanding community tenants.”

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