The announcement from Tauranga City Council for a planned redevelopment of the Civic Precinct is extremely positive for the city. This new project will see the city centre transformed into a modern, leading example of how we can complement and take advantage of open spaces in our CBD, while providing state-of-the-art facilities that bring life back into the heart of our city.
The proposed master plan will see development of, a new multi-use library, a museum connecting to a multi purpose E=exhibition / events space, a civic whare / debating chamber, a performing arts and conference centre, all supported by a hotel with restaurant/bar facilities and a roof terrace.
As a major supporter of the Civic Precinct, Priority One’s Chief Executive, Nigel Tutt, took this chance to express his views on the project and how he feels the redevelopment would impact the future of Tauranga Moana:
I wrote a couple of weeks ago about the resurgence in investment in Tauranga’s City Centre, with around $1B of largely private sector investment either underway or shortly about to be. Moves like the civic redevelopment will only strengthen this investment, and help improve the attractiveness of the city centre as a place to live, work and visit.
Whilst the project itself will be hugely beneficial to the city, I think the wider effect of leadership from the council is also really important. Usually, private sector doesn’t want to be involved too much with council business apart from the necessary roads, resource consents and the like. Tauranga’s CBD is a different story; the historic lack of investment from both public and private stakeholders has led to inertia, mistrust, and a need for council to show some leadership.
The private sector has been very clear in what it wants to see from council – the council should invest in its own city; that investment should be targeted at areas the council only can invest in (i.e. public realm, street-scaping etc…); and that investment should encourage people to come into the city. This development meets all three criteria and will provide developers and investors with increased confidence for future projects in the Tauranga CBD.
The civic precinct redevelopment itself will contain a new library and civic whare / debating chamber, alongside an events space, museum, hotel, performing arts and conference centre. This combination covers most of the gaps that we have in the city. The design provides connection to the cultural and historic significance of the site, and flows through to the waterfront – an underused asset for our city. The development is on the existing library and civic building site, one that has been plagued by watertightness and mould issues since 2014, and provides the catalyst for this redevelopment.
There is a large amount of work that needs to be done on design and feasibility, with the biggest issue likely to be how it’s funded. I’m sure there will be resistance by some around burden on the ratepayer, but it shouldn’t be viewed as a default option – there are many options to consider for funding and I’m encouraged by the willingness of the commission to take a fresh approach and look at alternative models.
While there is still much work to do in progressing the Civic Precinct from the concept stage it is currently in, we see immense value and opportunities for local business owners, Tauranga residents and the wider region as a whole upon fruition of the project.