Council staff are trying to discover how they failed to follow the direction of the new city council to advertise all briefings with staff as public meetings.
A public briefing on Wednesday concerning Tourism Bay of Plenty's proposal to return to its former site at Coronation Park, wasn't included on the council meetings list.
The public was only informed of the open briefing it was entitled to attend when a council press release was emailed at 3pm – when the meeting started.
“It's just bizarre to me how they stuffed that up,” says Mayor Greg Brownless.
“But under the new regime the general rule is everything is in open, and when it does need to be in confidential we will still put it up, and put confidential beside it.
“Even if we are having a confidential meeting you will still know. That's the instruction I have given, and the other councillors support it.
“At least we are trying to do the right thing now so there's nothing secret I can even tell you what happened at the meeting.”
Tourism BOP is looking for a longer term replacement for the on-wharf i-Site that greets the cruise ship passengers when they arrive on the Mount Maunganui wharf.
In a decision widely criticised at the time, Tourism BOP closed the former i-Site at the same location in 2012 following the downtown in local tourism as a result of the Rena disaster.
“They did have one, then they didn't, now it's going back,” says Greg.
“I had to have a bit of a chuckle. I wasn't around at the time, but they decided to exit that lease. You will have to ask them why.”
Reasons given for wanting to return are that the temporary i-Site on the wharf is not a long term solution, and Tourism BOP is looking for something dual purpose for cruise ship passengers and local tourists.
Jasmax is undertaking consultation and design studies for a new Visitor Information Centre in Mt Maunganui.
In publicly available information Jasmax says Coronation Park is the most appropriate site for the Visitor Centre but consideration to the mechanism of arrival from the Cruise ships needs to be resolved.
That is, how to get the visitors from the ship to the information centre.
But the scale is becoming considerable. Ships range from 1900 passengers, to 2500-3000 passengers being average all the way up to 4500 passengers with the larger ships. Seventy per cent of all passengers arriving from the boats make their own way into the Mount through the port access.
The other 30 per cent are taken by cruise arranged coaches directly to their activities. At the moment the iPort facility acts as a filter through which all arriving cruise ship passengers must pass.
There is a lot of work to get through before any decisions are made because there will have to be an agreement on how a new i-Site in Salisbury Avenue will be funded.
“And like everything nowadays, it's so jolly expensive,” says Greg.
“I can see the point if we are going to do something, we may as well do something properly. But it doesn't mean you have got carte blanche.
“I was keen to hear the ideas but I don't have an opinion on it yet. I probably always felt Coronation Park was the best location - even at the time it was closed down.”
A consultant's report advises the council take the middle size option which will cost $1.45m-$1.74m to build and about $830k-$1.08m a year to run, depending on the size of the satellite locations in Phoenix Park and the Tauranga waterfront.
If existing TCC funding is included and management fees and rent obligations are removed, this option would require additional funding or revenue of between $299k and $491k per annum. While the costs are at the higher end of the options considered, if the Phoenix and Waterfront locations are serviced by a small kiosk, then the costs involved are comparable to other options.
The council will discuss the issues at the full council meeting on February 14.