Tauranga City Council plans to spend $12 million revamping the city centre's waterfront.
The plan has been welcomed by Priority One chief executive Andrew Coker, who says the investment will be a major boost the city.
"The waterfront is a component of what makes the city centre vibrant.
"I firmly believe the investment in developing the waterfront will be attractive to people, particularly talented people and the businesses that want them," he said. City councillors yesterday voted 6-3 to include a $12 million spending programme to upgrade and develop the Tauranga Waterfront, streetscape and open space over 10 years in the draft Long Term Plan.
The funds will be spread out across different projects including three separate accesses to the water in the first three years, developing the Northern Reclamation carpark and spending $2 million on the wharewaka project in 2022 and 2023.
At yesterday's meeting, debate among councillors ranged between enthusiasm for developing the "jewel" of the city centre and a desire to limit spending.
Councillors were presented with three spending options: $12 million, $8 million or $4 million. A first vote was held on option 2, $8 million, but was lost 3-6.
Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout opted for a $12 million spend.
"I believe the Waterfront is the jewel of the city centre. I think we need to polish that jewel up."
Cr Matt Cowley said agreeing to spend money on developing the city centre would be sending the right signals.
"It's about the long-term signals we're sending to developers that we will match their investment."
This argument swayed Cr John Robson, who was initially supporting option 2.
Councillor Bill Grainger also named the waterfront a jewel and said the council had made a great start to developing the area by building the promenade.
Cr Bev Edlin said when the money was spread over 10 years it became a reasonable amount. She said when people moved to Tauranga, it was for the beaches and the waterfront.
Cr Steve Morris voted against the proposal.
"If we adapt this $12 million after going through consultation of our draft plan, I will absolutely jump off the pier in the cold water in the middle of July.
"It's wishful thinking. It will be cut through the consultation process, it's not going to happen."
Cr Rick Curach agreed and said the councillors needed to be conservative, considering the spending already in the plan for a new parking building.