A sustainable way to manage growth in the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region


Source: SmartGrowth

People are encouraged to have their say on the updated SmartGrowth Strategy that’s been created to address growth and guide how the Western Bay of Plenty sub-region shapes up in the future. 

The SmartGrowth Strategy considers how housing, land, infrastructure, transport, community development, tāngata whenua values and aspirations, and the natural environment need to be looked at together to achieve effective long-term growth.

SmartGrowth is a collaboration between Bay of Plenty Regional, Tauranga City and Western Bay of Plenty District councils, tāngata whenua and central government. It is committed to the idea that we can’t go on as we have been, we need to do things differently so that as we continue to grow, we’re ready to manage that.

SmartGrowth Chair, Andrew Turner, says managing growth is a priority, highlighting the current challenges we are experiencing with congestion, roadworks and the uncertainty of housing.

“From Waihī Beach to Otamarakau, and everywhere in between, we’re still one of the fastest growing areas of Aotearoa New Zealand. In fact, to accommodate the roughly 300,000 people who will call this place home by 2050, we’re going to need up to 43,000 new homes.

“We’re growing rapidly, exceeding all growth projections, which is putting incredible pressure on our roads and housing supply, and key features like new roads, pipes and parks are not in place yet.

“This growth will happen and it needs to be accommodated, so it’s essential we work together to develop smart ways to manage the impact this is already having – and will continue to have – on our transport, housing and climate.”

The SmartGrowth Strategy considers these key challenges and where there should be a joint focus, on matters such as:

  • ensuring existing and future residents have access to a choice of homes and a range of employment opportunities, with good connections between them. 
  • ensuring communities have necessary infrastructure such as good roads, water and power supply and easy access to public transport, shops, libraries, community centres, playgrounds and schools.
  • growth being planned in a coordinated way and future development being centred around priority development areas. For example, we aim to avoid going ‘out’ through new greenfields land unless it is in a planned growth area, opting instead for developing ‘up’ through intensification with townhouses or apartments. 

The strategy also incorporates the requirements for a Future Development Strategy under the National Policy Statement on Urban Development, and the mahi the Combined Tāngata Whenua Forum is undertaking on Tāngata Whenua Spatial Planning to incorporate tāngata whenua values, aspirations, and priorities.

Andrew knows the community will want to see results that improve their daily lives, and says everyone around the SmartGrowth table is committed to doing whatever they can to support existing and future populations.

“Being proactive now means we will reduce the impact on how we get around, shape the options for where we can live, how we connect with our community, and ensure we can protect and enhance our natural and cultural landscape.

“We want you to feel confident that we have a plan in place to manage growth, so we can all be proud of where we live,” he says.

The draft SmartGrowth Strategy is now available for people to read and give feedback. Consultation is open from now until 5pm Friday 20 October via the following options:

  • Online, wānanga ipurangi: Head to the web page to check out the draft strategy
  • Face to face, kanohi ki te kanohi: Speak to your feedback with the political panel
  • Hard copy, pepa mārō: Printed feedback forms are available at all council library and service centres.