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Community passion and flair is about to reignite Tauranga's tired Historic Village back to its old position as a popular tourist destination.
Tauranga City Council yesterday backed a new direction for the village, which will see it become a seven-day "character experience" for visitors, while still housing community social agencies.
If the right mix of enthusiastic and business-minded volunteers are found, the village will be relaunched as a vibrant centre for retailers, artisans and community organisations.
Yesterday's decisions reflected a meeting of village tenants in May when it was agreed that the future of the village was about keeping its diversity intact, while at the same time making it more visitor-friendly.
Cr David Stewart said the village had remained a public attraction almost by default.
"One can only think that if it was done with proper enterprise, flair and passion, maybe we could build it back up to where it was before."
The council unanimously agreed that the core management of the village should be put into the hands of active community groups, such as the Friends of the Village.
Council staff will report back on the most suitable governance structure for the Historic Village.
Cr Stewart said the village needed to be free of political interference, although other councillors felt two or three councillors could be appointed to management.
"As long as there is some accountability back to the council as the shareholder," he said.
Mayor Stuart Crosby called the village a real survivor. "It has been a political ping-pong ball ever since I have been on the council."
He said there needed to be more flexibility around the governance and management of the site, with a trust or council-controlled organisation as options.
Cr Catherine Stewart said the village was a gem waiting to be polished. She suggested that two or three elected members could be appointed to the new structure.
Cr Wayne Moultrie wanted to see the management primarily comprised of people working in the private sector with successful business experience.
Cr Bill Faulkner did not want the village to return to being a drain on ratepayers. "We need the community behind us and that includes the stakeholders, absolutely."
New strategic directions included maintaining the village assets in a planned and affordable manner, and managing the village so that it was financially self-sustaining. This included providing opportunities for other sources of funding - in addition to rents.