A less restrictive planning regime has been proposed for developers wanting to improve waterfront facilities at key anchorages and boat ramps around Tauranga Harbour - including the construction of a marina.

Four harbour development zones have been proposed in the Bay of Plenty Regional Council's draft coastal environment plan. It opens up opportunities for developments previously in the too-hard basket.

The plan adds Bowentown, Tanners Point, Omokoroa and Matakana Island's Opureora Point to the harbour's existing development zone - Tauranga downtown's foreshore.

Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson was "encouraged" by the additions, saying the need for a more permissive planning regime was identified in his council's harbour recreational strategy. The four new development zones recognised growth in the recreational and commercial sectors and the need for more facilities such as wharves and parking.


Mr Paterson said the biggest potential development was a new marina. The Western Bay council's strategy identified the need for an extra boating facility in the northern part of the harbour.

However, the proposed changes did not mean there would be fewer controls. Strict controls would remain in force if someone wanted to set up a boat yard because of the risk from contamination.

Mr Paterson urged people to lodge their submissions on the coastal plan to the council.