Aspen reserve argument

Looking up from the bottom corner, the concept design for the Aspen Reserve upgrade. Photo: Supplied.

The redesign and refurbishing of Tauranga CBD’s Aspen Reserve survived a last minute attempt to drastically prune it back, when it came before the city council for approval.

Sprucing up the reserve was estimated to cost $800,000 - an amount questioned by several city councillors who succeeded in reducing it to $500,000.

Rick Curach says they could build a couple of houses for the money. During the meeting he moved it be a design and build project with a $400,000 budget.

Bill Grainger supported Rick, saying he couldn’t see close to $900,000 being spent on it.

Steve Morris says the council has been “spending like sailors” and it needs to get a grip.

Max Mason asked what amenities would be lost if they reduced the budget.

Terry Molloy asked if the pricing was tested against any project of similar size.

Staff say the design was driven by feedback from the open days held early last year which was incorporated into the design.

Similar sizes across the country the council could spend 500 to $5m

Larry Baldock says they’re not building houses, they are building a Central Business District. And improving its amenity. If he had any confidence that the project’s critics had any landscape design experience he might listen.

“But there’s no way I support slashing of this budget when you just pick a figure out of the air,” says Larry.

Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout agreed with Larry and said he would go along with the experts who had put the plan together.

 “It’s about quality,” says Max. “As an internationally competitive city, and the heart of the city is going to be about creating really good spaces. It’s about creating good urban spaces.

“We are trying to attract people to the city centre, it is about place making, and we as a council don’t talk about place making enough. I think it should be part of what we talk about all the time, and fundamentally we don’t understand what place making means. We need to understand and it needs to be part of our thinking, a bit like sustainability.”

Costs so far: concept and design $32,043. Estimated detailed design costs $118,000. Estimated construction costs for the Aspen Reserve upgrade were $800,000. Councillors voted to reduce the amount to $500,000.

The Aspen Reserve upgrade is funded by the existing streetscape investment fund.

Councillors voted to proceed to detailed design at a December council meeting.

Key themes in the feedback received from the open days held last February include keeping it green, a relaxing environment, can be used for events, provide more seating and shade and integrate arts and culture.

Isthmus have prepared a concept design for a green open space that allows for passive recreation including casual seating and shade but also caters for small intimate events that can be held during both day or night.

The concept design also recognises the cultural and historical significance of the site by incorporating feedback from Mana Whenua into and retaining historical features within the design i.e. the case of the inclusion of the historic stone wall on the Willow Street edge.


Let them pay!

Posted on 19-01-2018 12:46 | By Maryfaith

A small group of very vocal people from one particular ethnic group appear to hold sway over the council in every decision that is made. Does every concept design have to recognise the ’cultural and historical significance’ of the site by incorporating feedback from Mana Whenua into and retaining historical features within the design? If they want to foist yet more of their cultural heritage items on the public at large, then let them PAY FOR IT THEMSELVES! Other ethnic groups doesn’t expect council to pay for their every whim!


Posted on 18-01-2018 15:38 | By SML

I see darn all seating on that concept plan. But, worse, I see STEPS on the paths, which is a hazard for the elderly and wheelchair users! Surely ramps would be easier to construct, and make it more accessible? There so little access for wheelchair-users now in the CBD (including mobility parks, especially as they’re unpoliced after 6 pm!!), so you’re excluding disabled people, again, TCC :(

Larry Who?

Posted on 18-01-2018 13:57 | By sangrae

Has he gone out for tender for the concept design,I bet not once again it is not his money, spend,spend Larry.

Baldock's arrogance all too typical

Posted on 18-01-2018 13:11 | By Murray.Guy

Baldock’s arrogance reminds me of the a similar attitude when I opposed a $75,000 budget to create a short access from Dive Crescent to Marsh Street some years back. On that rare occasion succeeding to get majority elected member support and completing the access for $18,000. I am mindful of the $5 million of rates for the new I-Site when I read of a new 4 level commercial over twice the size and half the cost building on it’s way on the Strand, with a $2.7m budget.

$151,000 on consultants?

Posted on 18-01-2018 12:35 | By MISS ADVENTURE

WOW, so thats only a 1/4 of the approved $500,000 budget spend up. Rick and others correctly have pointed out that this is enough to build two houses, $950,000 is enough to build four! All this is doing is tinkering with what is already there and messing around to self justify all, self and sundry for no apparent any useful reason at all.

It appears

Posted on 18-01-2018 12:09 | By nerak

that a reality check is needed for Larry and Max, both need to remember they are there to serve the ratepayers, not to tart up a bit of grass 400 odd metres from the ’real downtown’. Max, Tga doesn’t compete nationally, forget internationally. Do you really think a bit of lawn and concrete several minutes from restaurants etc is going to bring the masses in awe? Think again. And ask any ratepayer to find out how $800 k could be better spent. And TCC staff need to do the work we pay them to do, instead of dreaming up so many nonsenses. How much is the ’concept design’ from Isthmus going to cost us? Oh, and Larry, your comment re confidence is too rude, who gave you the right to be so rude and dismissive?


Posted on 18-01-2018 11:15 | By overit

they are doing nothing with the space. Put in some free exercise equipment. Tizzying up the lawn wont draw people to the CBD. They have heaps of space on the waterfront, cliff road, the little park between the buildings. Those FOR this big spend are off their rockers. Get rid of them.


Posted on 18-01-2018 07:40 | By waiknot

If I had any confidence at all that Larry had financial skills, I might listen to him.

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