No clear road ahead for Tauriko site

By John Cousins

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Developer Bob Clarkson and the  estate at Tauriko where decisions on roading will 
have a big impact on the plans for his land behind Tauriko's service station. Photo/George Novak
Developer Bob Clarkson and the estate at Tauriko where decisions on roading will have a big impact on the plans for his land behind Tauriko's service station. Photo/George Novak

Years of indecision on key roading and land planning issues at Tauriko is holding up progress on major developments that could potentially add big costs to the development of the business estate opposite The Lakes, Tauranga developer Bob Clarkson says.

One of the key players involved in the future of the area, Mr Clarkson is disappointed the New Zealand Transport Agency still does not have a preferred option for whether the highway will continue on its alignment past Tauriko's service station and school, or take a new route through the valley beside the Tauriko Business estate.

Mr Clarkson was also frustrated with his efforts to try and persuade the Tauranga City Council to rezone 42 hectares he owns behind the service station and school which he wants to develop for housing and heavy industry.

He said the indecision meant Tauranga now had no fully developed available land to take a decent-sized industrial building, whereas there would be enough for up to three years of development if he could bring his land on stream.

Mr Clarkson's preference was for the agency to build a new road along the valley, from Omanawa Rd to the intersection of Kennedy Rd and the Pyes Pa bypass.

However, he said he had learned that latest costings of up to $250 million to develop a new road that involved multiple flyovers meant it was unlikely to happen for a long time, if ever.

This meant there could be large financial implications for the developer of the Tauriko Business Estate which had planned to link the development's spine road into the Tauriko bypass.

Mr Clarkson said that once the business estate had been fully developed, the spine road without a bypass would need to link into Belk Rd. Belk Rd would then need a big upgrade through to a major new intersection with SH29.

He described the indecision as chaotic.

It also impacted on his plan to build 50 affordable homes among the 200 homes he planned to build on the land behind the service station. If the road past the service station reverted to a council-controlled road, it removed all the difficulties involved with developing off a state highway.

The agency told the Bay of Plenty Times it had not selected a preferred option for the corridor and all options remained on the table including the bypass. Highways manager Brett Gliddon said they were working with SmartGrowth to look at future demands along SH29 and surrounding areas.

Without referring to Mr Clarkson's development, he said they needed to factor in possible land use changes and look at the review of settlement patterns. "Until this work is complete ... we won't be in a position to finalise our own investigations."

Mr Gliddon would not comment on whether the bypass had been dropped from contention because of cost but said it remained a "possible" project within its 10-year plan.

No comment could be obtained from Tauriko Business Estate developer Bryce Donne.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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