Tauranga City or Western Bay? There is a fine line between the two council boundaries, so which would you prefer to be part of?
That is the question the Local Government Commission has proposed to residents in Tauriko West - currently within the district becoming part of the city.
It arose from ongoing work by the councils of the Western Bay sub-region to ensure there is sufficient land available for future development.
Tauriko West, on the edge of Tauranga City, is the next proposed urban development to support the region's growth, delivering an estimated 3000 new dwellings from 2022 or 2023.
One of 12 submitters, George Marriott, whose property would be affected by the boundary change, said they were in favour of becoming part of Tauranga City.
"The reason I want to be part of Tauranga is that the city has very exciting plans for the next 30 years and I would like to have a sense of ownership in that."
However, he had concerns.
"We hope [Local Government Commission] will do all [it] can to protect and preserve our wellbeing and our quality of life through an extensive and invasive development process that is likely to take decades."
In the submission, Marriott said if the commission used its power and judgement to address "minor issues" such as water supply, he believed the city's expansion towards Redwood Lane could be "very positive for thousands of people".
Marriott and his wife Shirley have a small patch of land on the edge of the Tauriko West development.
He said development couldn't progress without his pick-your-own blueberry field being buried and the ground made level with his house.
"We're smallholders surrounded by land owned by large developers. It would be easy to get literally steamrolled by their plans."
In the opposite view, Keith Catran, who submitted his feedback on the proposal, said there was no reason to include his land in the boundary change.
He said because of good relations with Western Bay staff and elected members, he did not instead wish to become part of a "highly indebted city and be forced to participate in its problems, politics and infrastructure".
Catran said the new boundary should be down the middle of Redwood Lane.
"That would result in my property and my immediate neighbours remaining in Western
Bay, while the proposed urban development properties across the lane would become
part of Tauranga City," Catran wrote.
He said many of the residential sites were "long curving sections", that were not susceptible to further subdivision.
"The inclusion of these sites in Tauranga City would not assist in
improving governance or productivity performance towards adequate supply of land
for urban development within the sub-region.
"This land is not necessary to Tauriko West, and highly unlikely to be suitable for urban development."
The submissions were considered at a meeting in May, where the commission agreed to develop and adopt a reorganisation plan to advance the proposal.
The reorganisation plan is being developed and will be adopted at a future meeting.
The process of considering the Tauriko West application gave rise to the suggestion additional changes might also be timely.
The proposed changes would result in about 260ha adjoining State Highway 36 including Keenan Rd, Gasson Lane and part of Merrick Rd.
It would also include adjoining the Tauriko Business Estate around Belk Rd of about 150ha and about 57ha between the Tauranga Link Rd and Tara Rd at Pāpāmoa.
The areas are currently within Western Bay of Plenty District becoming part of Tauranga City.
The changes around Keenan Rd relate to an area previously identified through Smartgrowth planning processes as a likely location for future residential development.
Similarly, the area around Belk Rd has previously been signalled as a future area for the extension of the Tauriko Business Estate.
For these areas, the change to the council boundaries is a preliminary step towards future urban development that has been signalled for some time.
This would mean Tauranga City Council would be responsible for the planning and infrastructure decisions necessary for development to take place.
The current land area of Tauranga City is about 13,440ha. The additional area at Tauriko West will take that to 13,629ha.
If the three current proposals were all to proceed, this would increase the total area to 14,096ha.
The Western Bay District area would be 194,608ha - a reduction of 661ha.
Lead Commissioner Janie Annear said "the feedback received will be an important part of the information the Commission considers when it comes to deciding whether or not the changes should proceed".
How to submit feedback:
• The Commission has arranged two public meetings for people interested in the Keenan and Belk Rds proposals.
• These will be at the offices of Western Bay of Plenty District Council on July 22 and 23 starting at 7pm.
• There will also be a meeting for those interested in the Tara Rd proposal on July 23 at the Pāpāmoa Community Centre at 2.30pm.
• People wishing to make submissions can do so by post to The Local Government Commission, PO Box 5362, Wellington 6145 or email to email@example.com.