John is a senior reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Hub planned to liven up village

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Councillor Gail McIntosh.
Councillor Gail McIntosh.

Tauranga's Historic Village is to be "energised" by the city council's decision to back the construction of a community hub on nearly half an hectare of village land.

The Tauranga Energy Consumer Trust (TECT) has secured the land needed to erect a two-storey building to house cash-strapped community organisations in a fit-for-purpose administration facility. It would also partly develop adjoining green space for communal village use.

Opponents of the sale of land to TECT included former city councillor Hylton Rhodes who predicted the end of the village as a community attraction if the hub went ahead.

But the council was persuaded by public feedback on the proposal.

Read more: $33m superyacht turns Tauranga heads

Nearly 78 per cent of submitters backed selling the land, with the rest opposed or indifferent.

Councillor Gail McIntosh said the hub would energise the village. Going back to the 1970s and having attractions like trains was never going to happen.

The most frequently mentioned benefit by submitters was the positive effect the hub would have on the village's existing businesses, tenants and the village as a whole.

Tauranga's Historic Village has turned into a social services hub.
Tauranga's Historic Village has turned into a social services hub.

TECT would develop the green space adjoining the new building, including a stage that could be used for events like the Jazz Festival. It will also fix drainage so grass was available to be used for more of the year.

The council would end up with a net return of about $350,000 on land valued at nearly $1.2 million. This was because TECT was incurring safe building platform costs of nearly $152,000, green space improvements of nearly $236,000 and reinstatement costs of $335,000. This capped the council's liability for the works required at $120,000. The net sale proceeds of about $414,000 did not include subdivision and associated fees costing up to $60,000.

TECT chairman Bill Holland assured the council it was consulting on the design to achieve something that complemented the village.

"We will get as close as we reasonably can to something that will be acceptable to everyone."

He told councillor Catherine Stewart that project roading costs would live with TECT and be part of the subdivision.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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