A new 139-home eco-friendly village is being proposed in Pukehina.
Local developer Ben Turner wants to repurpose 165ha of beachside farmland in Pukehina to create a community nature reserve and eco-village.
The Matuku Moana Nature Reserve and Eco-Village will consist of 139 houses on 2000sq m sites and 141 hectares of natural wetlands if the development gets the green light.
Spokesman Buddy Mikaere said the aim of the development was to restore the wetlands to provide a natural habitat for native plants and birds.
Mikaere said each 2000sq m section would cost between $550,000 and $700,000 which would cover the cost of developing the wetland.
He said the idea was for each home to rely on solar energy, solar hot water and rainwater catchments, as well as having significant green space.
"It is a project that is ahead of its time in terms of its thinking," he said.
"The idea is the water flow coming from farms further up the stream will come through the wetlands to act as a filter."
He said the idea was a "dream" of Mount Maunganui-raised Ben Turner, who saw the opportunity to purchase and repurpose a farm near Pukehina Beach.
Turner, who has had 34 years experience in the building and development industry, is the owner of the sole project developer Group 7.
Mikaere said the development had the support of Bay of Plenty hapu Ngāti Whakahemo, saying the project aligned the kaitiaki philosophy of caring for the environment.
He said the project team hoped to set up a partnership with Fish and Game to manage the wetlands.
Mikaere said there had been a number of expressions of interest in the development and he was confident the sections would be filled.
Pukehina resident Rochelle Carter said the Matuku Moana development had a great vision for the area.
"It is positive to see developers thinking of our carbon footprint for future generations without impacting the environment," she said.
"This, in turn, will breathe new life into the area and offer the area more facilities to utilise."
Carter, who has lived in the area for four years, said more young families were moving to the area to live permanently.
She said the restoration of wetlands with unimpeded access for the community could only improve the environment.
Meanwhile, a new $250 million eco-friendly retirement village with 350 homes was under construction in Pāpāmoa.
All 350 homes of the new Pacific Lakes Village on Grenada St would be pre-wired for solar power, so homeowners could have the option of staying on the grid or not.
Generus Living Group director Graham Wilkinson said the first two three-bedroom, two-bathroom show homes would be complete by December this year.
Wilkinson said the Matuku Moana project demonstrated that developers were recognising the need to differentiate themselves within in the building industry.
"What we have noticed is older people tend to be very environmentally conscious. They worry about what their grandchildren are going to inherit," he said.
"It is not a cheaper option, but it is a feel-good option."
Public submissions to the Western Bay of Plenty District Council on the Matuku Moana development will open soon. To make a submission, visit www.matukumoana.co.nz
The Western Bay of Plenty District Council was approached for comment.
What you need to know:
- Close to three main centres – Tauranga, Whakatāne, Rotorua
- 139 houses on 407 acres of repurposed farmland near the beach in Pukehina
- Accessible nature reserve and walkways open to the community
- Wetland restoration to benefit native plants and birds
- Sustainable housing
- Opportunities for regional economic development (cafes, businesses, services)