A $50,000 global marketing campaign has been planned to persuade businesses to move to Tauranga's downtown.
It will pitch Tauranga as being a better place to live and work than major centres here and overseas, and comes as Chamber of Commerce chief executive Max Mason challenges the city to revitalise its "bland and boring" vision statement.
The issues of the city's promotion and vision have been raised at Tauranga City Council's Annual Plan public submission hearings this week.
The Western Bay of Plenty's economic development agency, Priority One, yesterday asked the city council for $25,000 to help fund a campaign to promote Tauranga's city centre as a business destination. Priority One's 240 members would match the council's contribution.
The agency's chief executive, Andrew Coker, told the council there was a perception Tauranga was a place where people drove at 30 km/h with their indicators on. There had been a frustrating lack of money to sell Tauranga to Australia and internationally, he said.
"A vibrant city centre is vital to the growth of the region," Mr Coker said.
The campaign hoped to reverse a long period when retailers and commercial operators had re-established themselves outside the city centre.
Mr Coker told the Bay of Plenty Times the campaign was about attracting and keeping talented people and the businesses needed to retain them.
"This campaign is all about targeting national and international businesses for relocation and investment," Mr Coker said.
"This is about getting businesses to think about where and how their business will thrive and to promote Tauranga as the place where this will happen."
Recent growth in infrastructure, and an earlier campaign, had begun to attract businesses to the region but more needed to be done to bring them to the city centre.
Businesses had begun to see the potential of the city centre and he was encouraged to see local company TrustPower chose to centralise its head office from Mount Maunganui, bringing 450 staff to a central city site.
Australian plastics manufacturer FPS also plans to establish a new plant in Mount Maunganui.
Meanwhile, the chamber chief executive's call for the city to revitalise its "bland and boring" vision statement has gathered community support.
"I've had six emails, 24 Facebook likes, two tweets and nine blog comments - three positive and six negative," Mr Mason told the Bay of Plenty Times.
This week he told the Annual Plan hearing a new vision statement would provide the city council with a new sense of purpose and direction. The current statement is 66 words long.
Now was the perfect time to change the city's vision and the appointment of Garry Poole as the council's new chief executive and new senior managers would help a culture change, he said.
Tauranga MP Simon Bridges said Mr Mason's comments were "right on the money" and locals spoken to by the Bay of Plenty Times agreed the council's vision statement needed to be changed. On the newspaper's Facebook page, Tauranga man Paul Treanor congratulated the chamber for "[sticking] its head above the parapet and challenge the council".
Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby agreed the current vision was wordy and said it would probably need to be simplified.
"It is a project that doesn't need to be a lengthy exercise, just a snappy vision for Tauranga. I personally use "a city for all ages" when I'm making decisions. I think it's a community decision, but it needs to be a realistic and achievable one. I'm not into brand names just for the sake of it."
Tauranga's vision statement:
"According to the people who live, work and play here, Tauranga will be a place that is: easy to move around, living well, wasting less, built to fit our hills, harbour and coast. There will be: vibrant, healthy and diverse communities, actively involved people. We will have a: clean, green, valued environment, strong and sustainable economy. And it will be: a great place to grow up."