Editorial: City keeps holding itself back

By Michele Hunter

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I have just returned from three days in Wellington - the so-called dying city - and found it full of life, energy and good experiences.

Its humming streets offered vibrant cafes, art deco movie theatres, museums, historic cable cars and stunning views of hills and rugged coastlines.

The experience left me wondering if Wellington is a dying city ... what is Tauranga?

We have the stunning views, but it seems anything that isn't family or elderly friendly is being quickly smothered or stamped out completely.

On Friday I left work having viewed Creative Tauranga's exciting plans for what a revamped Cargo Shed could look like. I was impressed and felt a sense of pride in the fact Tauranga - my home town - was starting to grow up as a city. We were going to have an arts and crafts destination on our stunning waterfront that I would be proud to take my big city-dwelling visitors to.

By the time I got back the plans were off and Tauranga City Council had unanimously voted to hand the running of the Cargo Shed over to the stallholders who are blaming poor marketing for a lack of visitors.

What a disappointment to see fantastic plans canned.

Then there is today's story about Tauranga's museum. Despite being New Zealand's fifth largest city, I'm ashamed of the fact Tauranga doesn't have a museum and despite two years of planning the Tauranga Moana Museum Trust is still not sure where they would put it if we did.

I've seen fantastic events like Blues, Brews and BBQs, the Sandbar on the Mount Main Beach in summer canned and the big screen on The Strand - screening the Rugby World Cup games - just manage to survive thanks to the hard work of a couple of hearty campaigners.

There always seems to be something holding Tauranga back.

Yes, we have a high population of elderly people, but if the city is to have a bright and prosperous future we need to be appealing to the younger working population and tourists, and not just those with young children.

The longer Tauranga ignores the 20s to 40s age-groups the longer we will continue to lag behind other New Zealand destinations.

- BAY OF PLENTY TIMES

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