The Civic Amenities Group has struck again, this time with a plan to revitalise the CBD, creating a new civic square, museum and more pedestrian green space.

I could not be more enthusiastic about this news if I tried.

I've long been an advocate of revamping our city centre, creating spaces for people to gather and spend time, which will inevitably lead to spending money in the city. This is exactly what the group is proposing.

The plan, if it goes ahead, will see a pedestrian and green space bordered by a council building and a $10 million museum, adjacent to the existing Tauranga Art Gallery and Baycourt.


Imagine how great it would be if the new civic square is also connected, by pedestrian spaces, to our burgeoning waterfront area. It could kick-start the creation of a network of pedestrian spaces that move people (and their wallets, not their cars) through our CBD.

Think of all the great parades and events we have along The Strand that could culminate in the civic square, so people who come in for events stay in town.

Mayor Stuart Crosby is not opposed to the proposal, saying: "Tauranga needs a proper civic centre and a heart. We really don't have one but I have no doubt that in five years we will have."

He's right. Our city needs a heart. And this plan will effectively create a hub for arts and culture in our city, which help form the heart of any city.

It takes vision and big dreams to create a truly brilliant city. It also usually takes large amounts of money, something ratepayers are not always happy to stump up.

The Civic Amenities Group has vision and is using private funding to make big dreams come true, potentially without the slow-moving bureaucracy that can hinder council-funded projects.

The group is doing what our city so desperately needs. Because when a city has a heart, we all benefit. Even those who don't pay for it.