BOPDHB give details on racecourse hospital plans

Services at Tauranga Hospital could be relocated to the Greerton site should plans go ahead. File Photo. SunLive.

The Bay of Plenty District Health board says it “makes sense” to consider Greerton’s Racecourse Reserve as a potential site for expansion of Tauranga Hospital.

BOPDHB CEO Pete Chandler says meeting increased demand on the current Cameron Road site would be “challenging” and an ongoing business case could accommodate the relocation idea should there be support. 

Tauranga City Council tabled the seven options for use of the 85ha area of Crown land last week.

This follows 650 items of community feedback being received as part of the Greerton Maarawaewae Study, conducted in conjunction with Kāinga Ora. 

Whilst many of the options presented were expected, such as housing, the hospital option came from left-field. 

Even Tauranga Council commission chair Anne Tolley admitted at a recent media briefing it was something of a “surprise” possibility. 

A health service is included within option seven from Council and would mean the relocation of the current racecourse. 

Pete says the BOPDHB first considered the space as an opportunity for growth in October after being alerted to the Greerton Maarawaewae Study process in the media. 

At that point, the BOPDHB made Council aware of an ongoing business case being formulated by the DHB regarding expansion of Tauranga Hospital. 

BOPDHB CEO Pete Chandler says meeting increased demand at the current hospital site would be "challenging". File Photo. SunLive.

In mid-November, following “due notification process” with mana whenua and central government, an agreement was reached that the option must be tabled for community conversation. 

“There is currently much thought being given to the future needs of the Tauranga Hospital campus, given our growing population and the future population projections over the next 50 years,” says Pete. 

“The hospital has been extended and added to many times during its history and further significant extension on the current site is challenging.”

The greenfield space at the Racecourse Reserve is being considered for its future use. Photo. John Borren/SunLive.

Pete says looking at greenfield space as an expansion option is logical but only if a “suitable area of land” is available - with such land scarce.

The Racecourse Reserve potentially provides that opportunity.

“We're only just starting out on this process and the community conversation is focused on ideas for use of the reserve land in the next 10, 20, 30 and 50 years,” says Pete.

“However, if we know that there is support for the possibility of utilising some of the land, given its ideal location, this will significantly help us in putting together our business case options.”

He's also keen to stress that the BOPDHB remains mindful of a need for public health services in the Pāpāmoa area, something which remains under consideration. 

Pete says that the option would involve the relocation of specific hospital services as a “new build”. Which services could be relocated is yet to be determined.

The seven options for the Racecourse Reserve are currently open to public feedback until the end of February.

Analysis will take place throughout March, with final recommendations then presented to Commissioners.

April is when Commissioners aim to make a decision on which option to proceed with.

Should the health service be officially recommended the BOPDHB could then push forward with including plans in their own expansion business case.

Pete says the business case for expansion of the hospital services in Tauranga is likely to be completed by the end of 2022. 

Council's proposal which includes the health service provision. Photo. Tauranga City Council.

Any use of the current land for a health service would also require a change of its current land status. 

The reserve land is currently zoned as a ‘Passive Open Space’ and is further identified as a scheduled site to be protected as open space and for recreation activities. 

“Any change to the status of this land would need to go through a significant plan change process that will involve community input,” says Pete.

“Whether it is for health services, houses or sportsfields, this plan change process would still apply.”

The land is currently leased by Racing Tauranga and Tauranga Golf Club until 2039.

The land is owned by the Crown with the Council the administering body.

Tauranga Hospital was recently funded nearly $18 million by the Government to help expand the ICU/HDU units to a one-level unit, moving and expanding the Coronary Care Unit to level three whilst also converting a ward into a 16-bed pandemic response unit and upgrading the emergency department’s air management.

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Posted on 24-12-2021 12:20 | By Kancho

Plenty of higher ground close to Papamoa. Even better greenfield development better access and better road access. A win win . Large well built buildings are much less susceptible to tsunami and earthquake. Hotels on Thailand’s seafront gave grandstand view of the tsunami there. Earthquake is possible in most places but on higher more solid ground and properly built again less susceptible.

Yes Papamoa

Posted on 22-12-2021 14:57 | By Kancho

Yes seems another hospital a better place for a hospital would be Papamoa. A southern area hospital already there but a new hospital to service th mount and Te Puke makes a lot of sense. Still prefer the racecourse as a green area as much as possible , all sorts of sport playing fields multi-purpose arena all ready being considered and parkland etc. The roads in current layout and difficulties will not support high density housing or even hospital traffic. Already can take 15 minutes plus to get from Greerton to Pyes Pa road. Now an extra pedestrian crossing to slow traffic some more.


Posted on 22-12-2021 12:28 | By old trucker

if this is the case get the Chinese here to build it, they built a 800 room hospital in weeks,finished,its on google in time lapse,my thoughts only,thanks Sunlive No1 in news,10-4 out, phew.

It's Another

Posted on 22-12-2021 10:26 | By The Caveman

DONE DEAL - the Tauranga Racecourse is no more - just wait and see !!

To johnney: A tsunami

Posted on 22-12-2021 09:44 | By SML

would wipe out a hospital at Papamoa, at a time when it would be most needed. Papamoa land, being largely sand or peat/swamp based, would be very vulnerable to any volcanic eruption or tsunami (and it will happen, it’s when, not if). While I have been against any change to the racecourse area, the idea of building a new modern hospital on stable high land at Greerton makes real sense.

Papamoa First

Posted on 22-12-2021 06:56 | By Johnney

With Papamoa being Tauranga’s largest suburb there is always the infrastructure oversight. They may plan for schools, reserves, roading etc. A couple of important infrastructure things that slip off the radar are hospitals, sewerage and rubbish transfer stations. We have only one rubbish transfer station, two sewage treatment plants, and one public hospital. We need better forward planning.