A Tauranga City Council committee has voted for a "minimum" upgrade to the city's Kulim Park after more than two years of consultation with the community.
The decision has been welcomed by the Kulim Park Community Group which, earlier this year, put a stop to the planned construction due to "seriously flawed" designs and community consultation.
Planning for the redevelopment started in 2017 with goals including improving paths, roads and parking as well as drainage.
In April, independent consultant Max Pederson reviewed the project and criticised the council for skipping a planned third round of consultation.
Yesterday, the Projects, Services and Operations Committee voted to recommend the council upgrade the park with a "minimum" design, with the hope further and more thorough research can take place before spending more money.
Originally feedback from the community was being used to inform improvements to the concept design but council staff delivered an additional "do minimum" upgrade option.
The "do minimum" upgrade includes a restrict/manage carparking, improve drainage, shared path, upgrade playground and additional furniture and trees with a "very rough" estimated cost of $397,000.
Councillors Jako Abrie and Heidi Hughes voted against while Mayor Tenby Powell, John Robson, Andrew Hollis, Bill Grainger, Kelvin Clout, Tina Salisbury, Larry Baldock and Steve Morris voted for the upgrade. Councillor Dawn Kiddie was absent.
"This doesn't stop us delivering the dream - it stops us from delivering a nightmare," Robson said after making his decision on the back of mistakes such as the Marine Precinct.
"I'm not uncomfortable in this decision because I don't think it creates an impediment for further improvement.
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"What it does do is provides and preserves a certain amount of financial resources so we can get it right."
Councillor Clout agreed with Robson stating at the meeting that the decision did not rule out any option.
"Next year when we have better information we can move forward."
Councillor Baldock said the park was an opportunity to take a "slower approach".
"We cannot just lump the feedback together and say [residents] are reasonably happy."
Speaking on behalf of the Kulim Park Community Group, John Little said he and others in the community were "absolutely rapt" with the result.
"Because at the end of the day the decision proves the council has been listening.
"For them to take the softly, softly approach gives us some relief to think perhaps there is an easier fix than going full blood at it."
The council could not provide the artist impressions as they have not been created with the new concept in mind.
What is the resolution passed by the Tauranga City Council?
The 'Do Minimum' approach plan for Kulim Park Upgrade will be adopted by the council with the following outcomes:
• Improving drainage of the park.
• Minimising unrestricted vehicle access on the grassed areas.
• Maintaining a minimum of 80 carparks (not necessarily sealed).
• Upgrading the children's playground.
• Constructing a shared pathway seaward of the existing roadway.
• Minimising invasive earthworks.
• Continued monitoring of park use to provide more information for future
decision making and park development.