Tauranga economy could be facing $2.5b deficit
Tauranga could lose 1100 construction jobs and $2.5 billion from the local economy unless investments are made to help the city thrive and grow.
Those estimates were among several discussed at a Tauranga City Council meeting today about the Long-term Plan 2021-31, which aims to address problems caused by the city growing faster than its infrastructure can handle.
The council’s commissioners heard that Tauranga’s population has grown by an average of 25,000 people every 10 years since 1980, and that this growth was expected to continue for at least the next two decades.
Meanwhile, the city has fallen behind in its infrastructure investments, creating problems such as traffic congestion, a lack of quality community facilities and a housing shortage.
The meeting heard that significant investment was required to:
• address a worsening shortage of space for homes and businesses
• mitigate traffic congestion
• improve public transport
• revitalise the city centre
• improve parks, reserves, walkways, theatres and other community facilities.
A ‘working draft’ version of the plan proposes $4 billion worth of investment in roads, water pipes, wastewater systems, community facilities and other important infrastructure that will allow more homes to be built, help people move around the city more easily and provide facilities which create a richer living environment.
This includes more than $1 billion in transport and $700 million in growing the city to accommodate more families and businesses.
These investments will allow the city to grow ‘up’ – with the intensification of the Te Papa peninsula from the city centre to Greerton – and ‘out’ – with the new suburbs of Tauriko West and Te Tumu.
Commission chair Anne Tolley says the magnitude of the challenge is clear.
“Tauranga desperately needs investment in its infrastructure and community facilities. We have an opportunity to build a city that not only meets the needs of our citizens now, but also for the future.
“It’s vital that our community has a voice in this process that they understand the challenges we face as a city and the reasons for any decisions we’re making."
The long-term plan will go out for public consultation on May 7.
LONG-TERM PLAN TIMELINE
March 15: Decisions made on contents, funding and financing
March 29: Adopt draft documents for provision to audit
April: Audit processes
May 3: Adopt consultation document and all supporting documentation
May 7 to June 7: Consultation period
Week starting July 26: Adoption of final LTP