Tauriko looks key to industrial growth

By John Cousins

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Industrial growth in the Western Bay of Plenty for the next 10 years looks likely to be focused on Tauriko, with Bob Clarkson's land behind the Tauriko School expected to become part of the mix.

An investigation by the Western Bay's SmartGrowth partners has identified significant issues standing in the way of the early development of industrial land at the Rangiuru Business Park near Te Puke, Wairakei at Papamoa and at Te Puke.

The investigation's findings, now in the hands of SmartGrowth's partner councils, will go out for public consultation once a final draft is approved.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby highlighted the recommendation in the SmartGrowth report dealing with the requirement for additional industrial land.

It said the western corridor, Tauriko and beyond, should be investigated as a suitable supply of additional land for industrial development in the medium term - up to 10 years.

"Bob's land will be in [the] mix, it is just about timing. Who knows, it may come on sooner.

We are doing some work around that."

Mr Clarkson has until now been fighting a losing battle to get his land above the Wairoa River rezoned for residential and industrial development and has offered affordable housing to try and fast-track his residential subdivision plans. The land lies within the boundaries of the Tauranga City Council and Western Bay of Plenty Council.

Mr Crosby said that in the existing economic climate, the affordability of serviced industrial land was a big issue.

He said SmartGrowth was having to turn its mind to lowering land costs at Papamoa and at Rangiuru in particular. It would take a big anchor business needing 20 to 30 hectares to kickstart things at Rangiuru.

The SmartGrowth report written by Justine Brennan said the cost of infrastructure to support a fully serviced business park in Rangiuru, capable of accommodating all industrial uses, made development financially unviable at the moment and could prove to be unviable in the long term.

"If water and wastewater infrastructure is redesigned to accommodate only low to moderate industrial water users, along with some changes to roading infrastructure, infrastructure costs can be reduced considerably."

However, even if costs were reduced, two separate assessments have concluded that development would still be unviable by a "substantial margin" for the near future.

"This may change in the medium to long term, or if a large scale anchor tenant was identified and they were offered significant financial incentives to locate in Rangiuru," the report said.

Industrial development was not financially viable in parts of Wairakei, primarily because of high development contribution charges.

"The financial viability challenges in Wairakei are, however, significantly less than in Rangiuru."

The report identified that development would be a "significant challenge" in Te Puke because of high costs and likely low revenues.

"This conclusion is supported by the recent sale of the largest block of undeveloped industrial land in Te Puke at rural land values with little to no premium for its industrial zoning."

The purchasers plan to continue grazing the land for at least the next 10 years.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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