Boom times: $89m for Bay

By Amy McGillivray

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More than $89million is being poured into investments throughout Tauranga with city leaders predicting the area will become one of the country's major economic hubs.

A medical centre and motel in Cameron Rd, a new radiotherapy centre, a birthing clinic, new shopping centres and new factories are among the $89.6million of developments under way. A state-of-the-art aquatic centre is lined up for Pyes Pa (see page 9 for details).

Priority One chief executive Andrew Coker said current construction was just the tip of the iceberg with growth expected to increase over the next 10 years.

"In the next five years we'll see even more growth than we've seen in the last 10. That's really positive growth. That's in terms of businesses moving here," he said. "We'll see growth on growth."

The investment would drive the change from a population-driven economy to one that had a sustainable economic base that would see it placed as "one of the major economic hubs of the country".

The current growth reflected investor confidence in Tauranga's commercial sector, he said.

"We're a city that's well set for growth as the economy lifts," he said. "The private sector and councils have invested heavily in infrastructure. We've got a roading network that's strategically aligned to future growth. We'll be the first city to complete the roll-out of ultra fast broadband."

The developments would create construction jobs in the immediate future but, in the long term, those businesses would create more jobs and better jobs, Mr Coker said. "There's the ongoing employment of talented and highly skilled people in Tauranga," he said.

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce acting chief executive Anne Pankhurst said she, too, expected the boom was just the start of what the city was in for during the next five to 10 years.

"When you see cranes going up into the skyscape, it's a really exciting prospect that things are happening again," she said. "If every place has 10-20 people employed in it that's good for the employment sector. There is still more to come and it's very, very exciting."

Tauranga was already a major player in the country's national economy and the developments would be "a very, very obvious landmark of that".

A tertiary precinct, predicted to cost about $40million, would take the current value of developments to more than $120million, she said.

Tauranga City Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout said he could also see the city becoming an economic hub. "Clearly [the development] is good news in terms of jobs and construction. It's also showing that people are putting faith in the future of the city," he said.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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