Rotorua's largest ratepayer group says it believes the council's draft Spatial Plan for the district overestimates future growth projections by cherry-picking data.
The Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association (RDRR) also claims the plan misses out future opportunities for forestry, wood processing, geothermal heating and heavy industrial sites, and has drawn up an alternative plan.
Rotorua Lakes Council released its draft Spatial Plan for Rotorua earlier this month and is in the process of taking submissions.
The council's strategy and partnerships group manager Jean-Paul Gaston said it would be inappropriate to comment on the association's submission at this stage.
"Given the level of feedback and interest on this discussion document, council has decided to extend the feedback period from May 31 to June 10 to allow more people to have their say on the document," he said.
The council hopes to have the plan in place by August.
According to the council's website, "the Rotorua Spatial Plan will be a bold plan that will show how Rotorua will grow and change out to 2050".
"Driving this is the Rotorua Vision 2030. This is the galvanising force behind the Spatial Plan and all council, that ensures all activity is oriented towards one goal.
"The Rotorua Spatial Plan will describe a future where the population is significantly larger. This recognises people will continue to be attracted here by the lifestyle and economic growth, and growth overspill from surrounding areas," it stated.
Association chairwoman Glenys Searancke said the group's alternative plan took two months to prepare by a working party consisting of Allan Estcourt, Neill Kennedy, Rex Charlton, Reynold Macpherson, Trevor Brine and Ron Couchman.
She said they though the council could do a lot better and the association's submission - People, Profit, Planet and Progress: An Alternative Future for Rotorua District - was based on research and population studies conducted by Statistics New Zealand, the Maxim Institute, and Massey and Waikato universities.
She said the draft plan in their view did not recognise the diversity of the Rotorua community and the council's "adoption of a dated bicultural model for local government is simplistic and divisive".
"Instead, council should value interculturalism in our multicultural community as an appropriate basis for culturally respectful spatial planning."
Association secretary Dr Reynold Macpherson said demographic research in New Zealand did not support the council's proposal to fund growth and wellbeing in perpetuity.
"Prudent spatial planning should allow for minor population surges, periods of stagnation, and decline in the longer term."
He said to say Rotorua would continue to grow at current rates to 2050 was totally unrealistic in his view.
"Council must recognise that forestry and wood processing will play a large part of Rotorua's future, consult with the industry's commercial, industrial and research leaders, and develop an appropriate spatial plan to support the sector."
He claimed the council's concentration on pre-paid, high volume tourism had become obsolete and "we need a 'people, profit, planet and progress' spatial plan that can accommodate variances in growth due to demographic factors".
The association is calling for less local government intervention in economic development, a new focus on infrastructure and core services, more exploration of geothermal energy resources and "the immediate development of an arterial roading plan and a heavy industrial zone outside of the city".
Rotorua Lakes Council draft Rotorua Spatial Plan
- Submissions close June 10
- Sets the direction and identifies opportunities for future growth in Rotorua to 2050
- Rotorua District Residents and Ratepayers Association has made a submission
- The association says the plan fails Rotorua and is based on cherry picked data and research