Tauranga city commissioners met with social agencies this week to discuss the Long Term Plan and Annual Plan for the city.
The meeting was organised by SociaLink, the umbrella agency for social agencies in the Western Bay, and was focused on community needs for the future.
Commissioner Shadrack Rolleston said there had been underinvestment in the city’s infrastructure and community facilities for years, and that needed to be corrected. Amendments were needed to the Long Term Plan and Annual Plan to ensure the city’s future, he said.
People were angry that the council had neglected the centre of the city for so long, and felt it needed more of a heart to get the city pumping. While they had not wanted to start from scratch, a refreshment had been made to the 2017 plan for the city’s heart, Te Manawataki O Te Papa.
Commissioner Stephen Selwood said the new Infrastructure Funding and Financing Act meant the city could apply for funding for transport projects and infrastructure for the city’s chronic housing shortage. This meant it could fund development over a longer period and ensure that growth paid for growth.
This would enable the development of 2000 new homes in Tauriko West, and develop $200 million in projects that helped people move around the city more easily to address congestion.
Commissioner Bill Wasley said the council needed to keep investing in the city to make up for underinvestment in the past, and focus on projects to address city issues and provide better levels of service, especially in transport.
Better funding balance was needed to ensure fairness in rating, he said.
“We want to regenerate pride in the city, and development contributions will ensure growth pays for growth. Increases in fees and charges will ensure users pay, and new residents contribute to infrastructure.”
He said the council’s six priorities were housing to meet the housing gap, transport to help people move around the city safely, create certainty in the Mount and industrial areas, bring people together and activate the heart of the city.