The first preliminary concept plans for the Rotorua Lakefront have been revealed, detailing a 600m boardwalk running alongside the water.

Lakefront Advisory Board member Sir Bob Harvey, cultural adviser Karl Johnstone, council's strategic development manager Portia McKenzie and urban design company Isthmus' founding director David Irwin presented the plans at a meeting of Rotorua Lakes Council's Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee yesterday.

The designs were created with funding from the Government's Provincial Growth Fund and include a 600m long, 5m wide boardwalk that juts out over the water in parts.

The redevelopment looks to include a commercial area, potentially with restaurants, and a playground.


Irwin told the committee the concept plans were significant.

"The scale needs to fit with the true scale of what the city is," he said.

"This will be an international benchmark."

The lakefront concept plans could see a 600 metre long boardwalk installed. Photo/File
The lakefront concept plans could see a 600 metre long boardwalk installed. Photo/File

Irwin said the Lakefront was a special place and any redevelopment needed to reflect that.

Johnstone said the plans aimed to represent the link between water and land and the history of the area. It may include tukutuku panel bridges, the relocation of parking and relocation of the wharewaka.

McKenzie told the committee the next steps were to refine the concepts.

"We are still at a concept design stage, we still have a lot of conversations to happen with
operators and other developers in the area to make sure this design is taken forward and works for everyone.

"What you see today may change over the next few months."


The council was given $811,625 from the Government's Provincial Growth Fund for the development of business cases, including design work, for both the Lakefront and forest developments.

The preliminary concept plans presented to a council committee. Image/Supplied
The preliminary concept plans presented to a council committee. Image/Supplied

It has applied for a further $19.9m from the Provincial Growth Fund for the Lakefront project's capex.

Under the council's 2018-2028 Long-Term Plan it also set aside $20m over eight years for the project.

In the plan, the council identified a "world-class Lakefront" as a priority.

"The plan is to develop our Lakefront to tell our stories and present our unique cultural identity in a high quality environment, on a par with other internationally renowned waterfronts," the Long-Term Plan reads.

The plan suggests high-grade tourism accommodation, cultural experiences and entertainment zones as part of the development.

Councillor Merepeka Raukawa-Tait said the plans were for a redevelopment which would "stand on the world stage".

The committee also received draft amendments to the Lakefront Reserve section of the Rotorua Townships Reserve Management Plan.

These amendments will be recommended to full council for public consultation and would allow Lakefront redevelopment to continue as planned.

Some of the draft amendments are to remove restrictions around the location of commercial activity, allow for a maximum commercial building footprint of 2000 sq m, allow the alteration of existing paths, roads and paved surfaces and provide for the removal of the Soundshell and Scout Hall.

Councillors Karen Hunt, Charles Sturt, Tania Tapsell and Dave Donaldson, as well as a member of the Rotorua Lakes Community Board and a member of the Te Tatau o Te Arawa board, were appointed to hear any submissions on the draft amendments.

The resolution will go to the full council at the end of the month. If approved, public consultation on the amendments will run for the majority of September with a final decision due on October 25.