Creating Tauranga's civic heart

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Artist's impression of what the view from a new Civic Square on Masonic Park across to a redeveloped Willow Street could look like. Photo/Supplied
Artist's impression of what the view from a new Civic Square on Masonic Park across to a redeveloped Willow Street could look like. Photo/Supplied

Wednesday June 1 could be a significant milestone in creating Tauranga's civic heart.

Elected Members would be asked to adopt the Civic Space Options Programme Business Case, which recommended building a new Civic Administration building on Willow St, transforming Masonic Park into a Civic Square, and preparing business cases (feasibility studies) for a museum, a new library and a new performance venue.

If adopted, elected members would then seek to make changes to the Long Term Plan 2015 to 2025 subject to public consultation.

The community would be encouraged to give their feedback on the proposed amendments from June 10 to July.

Mayor Stuart Crosby said the Programme Business Case would provide Elected Members with the evidence to support them in their future decision making on the preferred way forward.

"This is an exciting opportunity for Tauranga and I encourage the community to share their feedback next month.

I wish to reinforce that Elected Members will not be making their decisions until after public consultation on the Long Term Plan Amendment."

The Programme Business Case proposes a $71.6 million investment for the new building, open space, Civic Square and three business cases.

The existing Administration building, Council Chambers building and the Customer Service Centre building on Willow St would be demolished.

The future of the Library building is yet to be determined.

Likewise, the procurement approach (own versus lease) for the Civic Administration building will also be finalised in a later stage.

Councillor Gail McIntosh, who is Chair of the Project Steering Group, said a new Civic Administration building would allow Council staff to be in one location in the city centre.

"A new Civic Administration building on Willow Street is the right direction and would enable Council to address its immediate office accommodation issues and provide an efficient and effective workplace for the staff and governance of the organisation. One location provides us with a more productive work environment, we have learnt this during our period spread over three locations."

Among the Programme Business Case attachments are artist's impressions of what the city centre could look like in 10 to 15 years' time.

The Civic Space Options Programme Business Case Report and attachments are available on the Tauranga City Council.


Civic Space Options Programme Business Case: Summary of Preferred Way Forward

Civic Administration building by 2020
A new 8,170m2 Civic Administration building that supports Council's implementation of a workplace strategy based on the Activity-Based Working model.

Open space (a civic place)
A civic place/open space area around the Civic Administration building to provide access to and from the building across the site, and for informal and formal events. It would connect the Willow Street site to the Civic Square on Masonic Park.

Civic Square on Masonic Park by 2020
Masonic Park would be transformed into a Civic Square to provide a high-quality community meeting point to celebrate and connect, and link the waterfront with the civic campus.

Investigating a New Library
Carry out a detailed business case over the next two years to address the future of the current Library building as well as determine the best solution for providing a fit-for-purpose, future-proofed library service. It would investigate the level of investment, timing and scope of the project.

Investigating a Museum
Carry out a detailed business case during the next two years to investigate the feasibility of building a museum on the Willow Street site. The business case would identify the value to residents, strategic and operational model options, and the level of investment, timing and scope of the project.

Investigating a New Performance Venue
Carry out an investigative business case by 2019 to determine the feasibility of a 1000-1200-seat performance venue on the Willow Street site. A performance venue, as part of Masterplan Option 3, is considered as a medium- to long-term project (i.e. 10 to 15 years).

Harington Street Parking Building
Work will begin this year on a new multi-storey parking building with around 550 car parks as well as the potential for a cycle hub or commercial tenancies. Council approved this investment through the Long Term Plan 2015-2025.

Hotel on Durham Street
Through the Civic Space Options Project, Council has received presentations from private developers interested in pursuing the opportunity to build a hotel on the Council-owned site at 21-41 Durham Street.

- Bay of Plenty Times

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