A vision for the future of public spaces in Tauranga's city centre has been reactivated because of fears the CBD could be overwhelmed by the speed of change.

The 2015 plan has taken on new significance after a series of announcements including construction of a new civic administration building, a university campus, a 12-storey student hostel, private and public carpark buildings and apartment complexes.

The council's City Transformation Committee has agreed to update the draft plan which sets the framework for the future look and feel of the city centre. It included a stadium and sports precinct on The Domain and a 5km "green necklace" walkway skirting the perimeter of the city centre between Elizabeth St and Marsh St.

"When you are planning for change, you have got to know where you are going," Mayor Greg Brownless told Tuesday's meeting.

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Heart of the City director Adele Hadfield said the city centre was undergoing huge change and the council wanted to make sure there was no ad hoc decision making without guidance of the plan.

It would help the council prioritise how to spend the remaining $4.8 million tagged to upgrade streets and other public spaces in the CBD.

Councillor Steve Morris called it an ''aspirational document''. While it was good to have a plan, they also needed an idea of costs to help public consultation.

Councillor Max Mason said the council was being too timid by making it a 30-year plan and should be aiming at 15 years. It was not all about costs and was a partnership of the public and private sectors and community groups.

Committee chairman Larry Baldock said cost was a factor but ought not to be the determinant. For example, the private sector was looking at investing in a stadium.

Mr Brownless said the council could not go wrong preserving green open space, although he hoped the green necklace would not become a green chain.

The plan contained seven focus areas including the green necklace, civic heart, the avenues to headland north-south roads, and the harbour to harbour east-west roads.

The green necklace walkway had four sections - Takitimu Drive, the Marsh St headland of Te Papa Peninsula, the Dive Cres/Strand waterfront promenade, and Elizabeth St.

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Work on the civic heart was already under way through the rebranded and expanded Heart of the City project. Hamilton St was planned to become a "green link" from The Domain to the waterfront, with pedestrian-friendly streets around the planned civic campus.

A vital component of the "access to water" focus was nearly finished with the $3.2m waterfront tidal steps, pier and pontoon. The ultimate aim was to transform the waterfront into a premier recreational destination, including rebuilding the Town Wharf.

The key element of "avenues to headland" was to develop Cameron Rd into a green avenue, supported by better public transport and walking and cycling provisions.

Harbour to harbour streets would reveal the natural and cultural history of the area and reinforce the views and connections between The Domain and Monmouth Redoubt.

Another focus was to encourage a network of pocket parks, lanes and other "fine-grain" spaces to add interest and "moments of serendipity" to the city.

Progress of city centre open space plan
May: Seek feedback from city heart Technical Advisory Group
June-July: Council workshop and community engagement
August: Council workshop and community engagement
September-October: Technical Advisory Group reviews final draft
November: Council adopts plan