Restoring Rotorua Museum and redeveloping the Aquatic Centre could be a step closer if the Rotorua Lakes Council accepts Long Term Plan recommendations.

The council is in the final stages of adopting the 2018-2028 Long Term Plan with the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee discussing it yesterday and today.

At the meeting yesterday the committee went through the recommendations on the plan indicating whether or not they supported them in principle.

Read more: Councillors to vote on Rotorua Aquatic Centre management decision
Rotorua Aquatic Centre staff proposal on track as council decision looms


More than 1300 individuals, groups and organisations provided feedback on the plan. It will go to the full council on June 28 for adoption.

The Aquatic Centre
Staff recommended including the $7.5 million centre redevelopment in the plan.

Community feedback saw 366 people in support and 192 against this.

Councillor Peter Bentley said he wanted assurances any new facility would be well maintained.

The committee supported it in principle.

The Museum
The recommendation was to include the museum restoration and reopening in the plan and committee members supported this in principle, as did 445 of the 713 submitters.

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Restoring and reopening the museum would cost $30 million, with hopes some would come from external funders. Photo / File
Restoring and reopening the museum would cost $30 million, with hopes some would come from external funders. Photo / File

"It's very affirming that our community has said 'This is a building we value'," mayor Steve Chadwick said.

Restoration would cost $30 million over three years but the council expected external contributions.

Tarawera sewerage scheme
Council staff recommended including the scheme in the plan.

The consultation document discussed funding the scheme either through a lump $19,000 contribution per household or instalments over 25 years.

Councillor Charles Sturt said it had to be done but he was concerned about the cost to residents.

The committee supported the scheme in principle but planned to discuss the cost further.

Waste management
Extending kerbside collection into rural areas, at a cost of $320,000, was supported by council staff, 217 submitters and the committee.

Committee member Shirley Trumper, who chairs the rural community board, said there was overwhelming support for that in the rural community.

Framework for a development contribution policy
The recommendation was to support creating a draft sustainable development contribution policy with the idea separate consultation would be undertaken later.

The committee supported this in principle, as did 157 submitters.

The council's chief executive, Geoff Williams, told the committee the key driver in reintroducing developer contributions was to fund infrastructure.

Lakefront redevelopment
Staff recommended supporting this at a cost of $20 million, not the $21.1 million consulted on.

The committee supported this in principle.

The council's group manager strategy, Jean-Paul Gaston, said the project was about creating a "high-quality public space which enables and supports investment".

Councillor Trevor Maxwell said the Lakefront had been ignored for years and it was time it was developed.

During consultation 278 submitters supported development while 243 voted to limit future investment.

Whakarewarewa Forest
The recommendation was to invest $7.5 million in the forest, with a focus on the Redwoods visitor centre and Long Mile Rd entrance.

Residents did not support investment in the forest but the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee did. Photo / File
Residents did not support investment in the forest but the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee did. Photo / File

During consultation 222 submitters supported investment while 335 voted to leave the forest as it was.

Chadwick said doing nothing was unacceptable.

"Doing nothing means, to me, shutting the forest access because it's an incredibly delicate environment. And I'm not prepared to do that.

"This is one of our Crown jewel assets and it requires a level of investment so it can be looked after."

But Kent asked what the point of consultation was if they didn't listen.

"To me the ratepayers have said loudly and clearly they don't want the money spent."

The committee supported the proposal in principle.

Kuirau Park
Feedback showed 35 per cent support for developing the park over five years.

Council officers recommended putting the $7.5-million project in the plan, perhaps over longer than five years.

The committee supported it in principle but redeveloping the skate park was treated as a separate project for further deliberation.

Creation of a new CCO
A proposed new council-controlled organisation created to attract domestic and foreign investment was supported in principal.

It would cost $250,000 per annum, funded through a targeted rate to businesses and commercial entities in the CBD.

A total of 154 submitters supported this, 125 did not.

Pensioner Housing
Consultation centred on the sale of the units to a community housing provider.

The sale, the preferred option, is no longer feasible so the recommendation is for the council to work with housing providers on an alternative model.

This was supported in principle.

If not sold the houses would increase debt by $13 million.

The council consulted on the rates, proposing to change the rates differential and reduce the UAGC.

The recommendation to the committee was to keep the business differential rate the same and slightly raise the rural residential rate and reduce the uniform charge from $570 to $500.

During consultation 139 people supported reducing the UAGC while 120 supported changes to the rates differential and 153 wanted no change.

Trumper said the Rural Community Board was against any changes to rates without a formal review.

Williams said the proposed changes were to "disperse rates in a fair and equitable manner".

The majority of the committee did not support the proposal in principle.

On finances, Kent said the proposed debt peak at $282 million was shocking, but the council's chief financial officer, Thomas Colle, said it was driven by investment and improvements.