It's all hands on deck as the build of a new community hub continues in the small Bay of Plenty town of Katikati.

"A lot of the foundation work has been done," said Project Manager Barbara Whitton. "The project is expected to be completed and opened in mid-2018. I believe the aim will be for the buildings to be weather-tight by the end of March next year."

Western Bay of Plenty District Council Mayor, Garry Webber said the cost of the new building will be around $4.5 million dollars, with the land being purchased by Council six years ago.

"One of the things we are trying to do in Katikati, and in Te Puke and some of our other smaller villages, is to build their amenity value, so that people want to come here as a place to live as a lifestyle choice. That is how we hope it continues to grow over time."


The plan includes a state-of-the-art library, service centre and community facilities - all built on the central site.

Local residents say the new development will help transform their town.

"We've got a high deprivation index here - eight," said Katikati Community Board Chairman Jenny Hobbs. "With ten being the worst, we are an eight, so it is very important that people here have a free place to come and access services and be able to use the internet to find important information."

Other local leaders were also excited about the project.

"When you talk to local community people, what they are looking for is something more boutique and village-like. This will help to centre everything, to bring it together," says Jacqui Knight of Katch Katikati.

Eris Boyack of the Katikati Memorial Hall Committee said "The community will have a better working area, car parking system, and a plaza like scenario."

"Part of Open Air Art's philosophy is to have places that will help attract and keep people living in the town. This will add to that in a huge way," says Katikati Open Air Art Chairman Steve Graveson.

Mayor Webber says the project's main aim is to stimulate growth in Katikati, with an eye to attracting young professionals to settle there.

"We are looking as a council, at 10 to 20 years out, when the Katikati Bypass is implemented, where it will only take 15-30 minutes to get into Tauranga City."

And with Tauranga experiencing a huge surge in house prices, marketing a cheaper alternative close-by could be a very smart move indeed.

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