Sonya is a social issues reporter at the Bay of Plenty Times

Half a billion dollars of consents issued in Bay

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Building consents January - June

• Tauranga City Council: $376.76m • Western Bay District Council: $136.95m • Total sub-region: $513.71m
Legacy Funerals director Mike Savage at the site of a new funeral home in Papamoa. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER
Legacy Funerals director Mike Savage at the site of a new funeral home in Papamoa. PHOTO/ANDREW WARNER

Half a billion dollars worth of building consents have been issued in the Western Bay of Plenty so far this year - the highest since at least 2004.

Priority One figures for January to June the total value of consents issued by both Tauranga City and Western Bay District councils hit$513.71m this year, compared to the previous high of $375.69m in 2004, the year records began - a 37 per cent increase.

Tauranga City issued $376.76m of consents, compared to Western Bay District's $136.95m.

The largest project to be consented last month was the Kohu Quarter development in Papamoa East, which consists of 39 townhouses starting at $235,000, according to the project's website.

The development included three blocks of two and three-bedroom homes and a childcare centre, at a total value of $8,945,500 according to the consent application.

Tauranga Mayor Stuart Crosby said yet again, the numbers were positive for the whole of Tauranga and the Western Bay.

"We've got a strong construction industry, it's a high employer not just of the trades but suppliers, manufacturers and all the associated industries to the construction industry.

"I still believe 2016 going into 2017 is going to be a strong 12 months moving forward as well."

Mr Crosby said the consents showed a strong mixture of all levels of construction, from residential to commercial.

Priority One chief executive Andrew Coker said it had been a strong year so far and both Tauranga City and Western Bay District councils were "well above" where they were sitting last year.

"Tauranga City is up 18 per cent on the previous high in 2004. Western Bay is up 62 per cent on its previous high.

"Since our records began, Western Bay averaged $8m or so a month with ebbs and troughs. In the last 10 months, they have gone over $20m."

Mr Coker said this was partly a result of the strength of the kiwifruit industry and also due to the numbers of people moving to the sub-region, particularly in Omokoroa and Te Puke.

While the majority of the consents were residential, Mr Coker said there had been good growth in the commercial sector as well, which in 2015 were up 87 per cent on the previous year. Mr Coker said this year was already tracking higher.

Western Bay Mayor Ross Paterson said in the recent financial year, the district's consents were $95m up on the previous financial year, going from $156m to $251m.

"This is reflecting what's happening in Auckland and other growth areas. We're able to accommodate it because of the investment in infrastructure put in the ground already. It will take that money off our debt sheet."

Tauranga Chamber of Commerce chief executive Stan Gregec said the numbers showed Tauranga was firing on all cylinders at the moment, and that the building boom was real and sustainable.

"This is still being driven by Aucklanders moving down but also by local businesses and property owners investing.

"There's still plenty of life in the current cycle."


New funeral chapel for Papamoa

Legacy Trust is building a new funeral chapel in Papamoa to cater for the needs of the growing suburb.

The new funeral chapel and function room has been issued a building consent to a value of $1.5m and trustee Bill Holland said construction could be completed by the end of the year.

"We've bought some land down there and are starting up a funeral home. There isn't one in that area and there's obviously a need for one out there.

"We're very excited about it," Mr Holland said.

The trust aimed to provide an appropriately respectful environment for what was often a sad time in people's lives, Mr Holland said.

"The new chapel is part of the slow growth of Legacy. The whole thing is going so well, people are catching on and realising more and more what Legacy is all about. The profits go back to the trust."

- Bay of Plenty Times

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