Council election: Spotlight on taller buildings

A Mount Business Association member says the plan could damage the area's reputation of "coastal village beach-vibes". Photo: Stephanie Martelli.

A group of businesses in the heart of Mount Maunganui want development to be pivotal voting issue in the upcoming city council election.

Earlier this month, the Tauranga City Council commissioners recommended allowing more Mount Maunganui buildings to reach a height of 22m under Plan Change 33.

The plan change is in response to the previous government's changes to the Resource Management Act which allowed for greater intensification in urban areas.

Mount Business Association member Kate Barry-Piceno, who is also resource management specialist lawyer, says they invited all mayoral and council candidates to a meeting on Tuesday night at the Mount Maunganui Surf Lifesaving Club to inform voters on their position.

Kate believes the area is Tauranga's most successful commercial centre partly because it's not full of high-rises.

"It's a tourist destination for the very nature of its coastal village beach-vibes feel. We don't want to be a blanket commercial centre, going up to six or eight stories," she says.

On May 24, Tauranga City Council Commissioner Anne Tolley wrote to Minister for the Environment Penny Simmonds and Minister for Resource Management Act Reform Chris Bishop and asked that they overrule part of the recommendations from an Independent Housing Panel, which would have left the permitted height for a building in Mount Maunganui at 12 metres.

Kate says the business association would like the new council to bring their own plan change to reverse the commissioners' decision.

"We don't know what minister Bishop is going to decide, whether to accept the commissioners' recommendation to reject the heading panel."

Mount Matters Group spokesperson Barry Brown says Tauranga is extremely fortunate to have had Plan Change 33 addressed by an independent expert panel.

Mount Matters Group are astounded the commissioners ignored the panel's recommendation when it came to Mount Maunganui, he says.

"The Mount doesn't just belong to those who live there - it's a much loved and hugely important economic driver for all of Tauranga. We can't stand by and watch Mount Maunganui lose its identity. That's why we need to take action," says Barry.

In a previous statement to RNZ, Tolley says Tauranga has a significant housing deficit, which means there is little choice in the type and size of homes available for people to live in, and that the city's housing costs are the most unaffordable of any New Zealand city.

"To help address these issues, Tauranga needs to grow up as well as out," says Anne.

However, she says in the end the development of The Mount is in the hands of land owners.

"Increased heights in places like Mount Maunganui North are needed to increase our housing capacity and enable much-needed future development, but they are not automatic.

"The qualifying matters built into PC33 [Plan Change 33] will help to protect community values and visible change will only happen as people decide to redevelop land in existing residential areas."




Posted on 19-06-2024 18:59 | By Naysay

A reckless decision by the commission in their final days in office. A decision that will affect future generations.

poor mount

Posted on 20-06-2024 11:16 | By rotovend

the mount is too small and congested for more high rises it will just make it cold and horrid. High rises should be over Tauranga off Cameron rd there will still be water views and there's a main arterial road and maybe one day a ferry would be a good plan a small one like the Kitty Cat in Brisbane would be perfect as they can cope with the Mangroves and currents The Mount if not boutique will just die off and be nothing

Tolley should butt out.

Posted on 20-06-2024 11:50 | By morepork

The Commission and the Commissioner should not be influencing our lives going forward. They already showed they have no understanding of character, either in themselves or in the nature of a seaside town. The Mount is a unique treasure that we should be striving to keep, even as it has to expand.
"Mount Matters Group are astounded the commissioners ignored the panel's recommendation when it came to Mount Maunganui, he says."
Astounded? I would have expected nothing less from an egotistic Commission with cotton wool for brains and a desire to comply with their now discredited master in the previous failed government. Tolley can only see vanity projects that benefit her cronies. Why would she listen to a committee of people who live in the Mount, understand the nature of their town, and are trying to keep the character of it?

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