Tauranga is set to have another ratepayers' advocacy group after residents of The Lakes decided they want to present a unified voice on the big issues facing the city.
Retiree Tony Gavin organised a public meeting last night, in a bid to find out what the key issues were for the community and whether it wanted a collective body to represent residents in discussions with the council's new commissioner team.
Today, Gavin told the Bay of Plenty Times about 140 people attended the meeting and support for the concept was "universal".
"Thirteen people volunteered to form a steering group to move it from a concept to a reality," he said.
"There was a lot of enthusiasm and a lot of people who couldn't attend but sent in notices of support and asked to be kept in touch. The concept is definitely something the community wants to see happen."
He said that with the uncertainty surrounding the commission appointed by the Government to govern Tauranga City Council, the group of residents wanted a collective voice with which to weigh in on decisions.
"There is some uncertainty with what's going to happen within Tauranga, particularly with talk around rates going up and things like that, but we haven't seen any details.
"It's basically the community wanting to have a voice and it's easier to do that in a collective sense. We could each individually say something but if we do it together we're likely to be better heard.
"The community is growing and I think people want to know what the future of The Lakes is in terms of facilities and things like that. There's an interest in engaging with council around these things."
The group will now start meeting regularly, draw up a constitution and draw up a communication strategy, Gavin said.
"Hopefully we can move things along quite quickly because the commissioners have indicated they would like to start working with groups in the community soon."
There are already several ratepayer groups in Tauranga including Grace Rd and Avenues Neighbourhood Residents' Association; Tauranga Ratepayers Action Network, Te Papa Residents Groups, Greerton Ratepayer Alliance, Mount Maunganui Residents and Ratepayers Association, Pāpāmoa Residents and Ratepayers Association and Matua Residents Association.