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Marine Park site considered for new marine facility
16 October 2018
Marine Park site considered for new marine facility
Tauranga City Council agreed today to support in principle to seek revocation of the recreation reserve status from an area of land at Marine Park. This is to enable a potential long-term lease of the land to the University of Waikato in order to establish a new marine research and educational facility, subject to the survey plan and public consultation.
Consultation will be carried out in November and December 2018 to seek the community’s opinion.
An assessment presented a feasible location on Marine Park where the University could potentially develop a new marine research and educational facility. Marine Park is a recreation reserve at Sulphur Point and its existing as well as planned activities have been taken into account.
The identified area is located at the southern end/middle of Marine Park and is 6,920m2. This meets the anticipated size required for the University to establish the facility, consisting of a two to three storey building (approximately 2,400m2), yard space and car parks.
Public access to the water’s edge will be maintained with the proposed development set back accordingly. This will maintain a pedestrian link along the coastal edge connecting the northern and southern parts of the reserve.
Public consultation, including a drop-in session and the opportunity to provide feedback online and offline will take place for at least one month, commencing in November 2018.   A decision on whether or not to proceed to seek revocation will be made following consideration of the feedback received. A decision to revoke the reserve status of this area of land ultimately sits with the Minister of Conservation.
Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout is excited to progress this significant project for the city.
“We are committed to keeping the University’s marine research centre here in Tauranga and listened to the community feedback we received in the first round of consultation,” said Mr Clout.
“The previously identified site at Northern Sulphur Point didn’t receive community support and I believe we have found a good alternative. We would now like to understand the community’s view on the potential use of this area of the reserve.
“The assessment we’ve been presented today, gives us a clear picture of the feasibility and potential of the new site.
“This new facility would expand our capability to protect Tauranga and New Zealand’s marine environment through a number of research programmes that provide opportunities and solutions in the areas of pollution prevention, climate change and sustainable aquaculture.”
In 2016 the University approached Council with the wish to work collaboratively towards establishing an internationally sought after, multidisciplinary research and educational facility close to the city centre.
The investigation included both privately owned and Council owned land. This was narrowed down to two areas at Sulphur Point which had the potential for a suitability site. In December 2017 the southern, grassed area of Northern Sulphur Point was determined as the most feasible site for this potential development.
Council carried out formal consultation from 12 February to 9 March 2018 regarding the proposal to long-term lease the identified area of land to the University for the purpose of establishing a new marine research and educational facility.
After considering community feedback, Councillors agreed to assess Marine Park to identify a potential site. The area of land at Northern Sulphur Point was removed from further consideration.