Public submissions on Tauranga City Council's revised annual plan have wrapped up, after four days of debate and discussion.
Before the lockdown, the council received 291 submissions on the plan, but after it was revised to consider the impact of the pandemic, that rose to 587. Of those, 51 requested to present in person.
Rates, roads, housing and rubbish collections were the hot topics.
"Rates are relentlessly increasing," landscape architect Richard Hart told the assembled councillors.
"I have some sympathy for you, I know it's a tricky job but we do elect you to run our budget for us. Please look at the numbers hard, particularly at the moment."
The effects of global warming and climate change were also raised.
"My proposal is meant to address some of the repercussions that global warming is bringing that have not hitherto to been addressed," wildlife photographer John Elmer Lee said.
"If the council feels that the commitments within the proposal might be too expensive, consider Covid-19 and what happened when some countries ignored scientific evidence and opened too soon."
Some submitters brought new ideas to the table giving the process a "Dragon's Den" feel. One group asked for $20,000 to create an interactive heritage experience.
"No single museum building is ever going to contain the heritage of a whole region. It is never anything more, a museum building, than a gateway," Bruce Farthing, from the Heritage Bay of Plenty Charitable Trust, said.
Another group had a lofty plan to get people from the Mount to the CBD using gondolas.
"Our submission is about trying to get a new form of transport for Tauranga that takes a lot of cars and buses off the road. The idea is to connect the Strand, the CBD and the Mount by a ropeway, a gondola, so you can have a direct, fast, efficient and accessible mode of transport that connects the Mount and Tauranga," Maungatapu resident Mark Wassung said.
Former Tauranga councillor Gerry Hodgson revisited a submission he made in 1975.
"My submission was on a subject that I raised way back in my first term and that is the Kopurererua Valley, which in my day was zoned rural. Because of various circumstances, I considered it may make a very good site for a rowing course."
While some were submitting for the first time, others have been at it for decades.
"I've been making submissions on the regional parks for 20 years," Hart said.
"I organised some public meetings to generate interest. The Pāpāmoa Hills Regional Park was the result of working with councils and pushing and pushing. I'd love a big park at the mouth of the Kaituna River at east Pāpāmoa, Te Tumu it's called."
Hart says it's a tough process.
"The problem with making submissions is you tend to feel ignored after a while ... you're probably not, I was welcomed in last night and today. To be fair on the councillors, you are heard, but there's bigger processes that are just relentless and it's like a dripping tap.
"I'm almost at the point of giving up making submissions. It's too hard and it's not sure if you get a result or not."
The mayor and councillors will now deliberate before deciding on the final plan at the end of the month.