What we do in public
While reggae music wafted from his Aotearoa Legalise Cannabis Party-branded car across downtown Mount Maunganui, Bay of Plenty candidate Christopher Coker gave away free hemp seeds the night before the polling booths closed.
With only hours to go until all candidates had to cease campaigning at midnight, Christopher took the opportunity to set up his table next to the Tauranga City Council recycle rubbish bins at Te Papa o Ngā Manu Porotakataka in downtown Mount Maunganui.
One of the questions asked was: ‘can people do this?’ – meaning can anyone set up a stand anywhere to do anything?
Council currently requires some activities to be booked to use public land but does not require them to pay for it. This includes things like weddings, small community events, professional photography and filming.
Should tour operators, boot camps and fitness classes currently require a licence or make a payment to set up in a public space?
What about businesses like a coffee cart, scooter and kayak hire or surfing lessons?
Can buskers set up anywhere and start playing music?
What role should council play in providing community gardens?
For the activity Christopher was undertaking at Te Papa o Ngā Manu Porotakataka, he didn’t require Council approval. His activity comes under the Bill of Rights Act 1990 but Council encourage people to let them know when they plan to use a public space for these activities to ensure there’s no health and safety risk associated or to manage other activities or events taking place at the same time.
Like in any other growing city, there are many different events and activities that can be held on public land.
These range from large music concerts and national/international multisport events to community markets and family fun days. Sometimes, event holders want to book the same public space at the same time – especially during the busy summer season.
People often wish to honour the memory of a loved one by donating memorial seats, picnic tables, planting a tree or scattering ashes in public spaces.
Tauranga is a fast-growing city and many of our most popular reserves are already at capacity for memorial seats and picnic tables.
Council currently provides land for some early childhood education facilities and playcentres. Some have long term leases and have been operating for many years.
Council decided some years ago that there should be no new facilities for early childhood education facilities on council land.
Council may grant licences to network operators under the Telecommunications Act 1987 for the purposes of placing and maintaining telecommunications facilities. This includes things like temporary facilities at Mount Maunganui over summer when the network needs additional capacity due to increased demand.
How public spaces are used and to ensure everyone has fair access to Tauranga’s recreational spaces and how they wish to use parks, reserves and stormwater reserves has been the subject of community feedback to Tauranga City Council.
Public submissions closed on Friday, October 23, and council staff are now evaluating those.
More than 500 residents and community groups have shared their thoughts on how they wish to use Tauranga’s parks, reserves and stormwater reserves in the future,” says a Council spokesperson.
“We’ve received feedback through an online survey, emails and phone calls.
“We’re now in the progress of analysing the feedback received that will help us shape the fair access to our places and spaces in the future. We will present issues and options in early 2021 and the community will then be able to share their views on the draft policy too.”
This is a staged process, with further policies dealing with the use of council land coming up for review. Council will provide further information and ask the community for feedback on those in the next year.