My Summary of the TCC City Centre Strategy 2012

This is article #4 in my 16 part series summarising Tauranga City Council strategy documents.

Here is my summary of the Tauranga City Council City Centre Strategy 2012 (135 pages. 22Mb .pdf).

This document was one of the biggest ones in this series: 135 pages.

I work in the city centre every day, so the city centre issues are in front of my eyes all the time. But I suspect that those of you that live and work in the self-contained suburbs of The Mount, Papamoa, Greerton and others, and rarely have cause to come to the CBD, care much less about the CBD.

But I think if we had a CBD to be proud of, all of us would share in that pride whether we made use of the area on a daily basis or not.

There are 5 sections on this document that interested me the most.

1. Key Achievements

First, the following list of “key achievements”. Frankly I wouldn’t have called it “key achievements”, I think a better name would be a “a list of plans and ideas that are in progress”.

And some have had more progress than others. A couple have completely fallen over, some have been half completed, and a few have been completed. See if you can spot which ones are which:

  • Waterfront development
    • The 2008 Waterfront Master Plan was adopted with construction planned for 2012 – 2022.
    • So far, almost nothing from this plan resembles the reality of the waterfront today

waterfront-plan

  • International Hotel
    • Aparently a business case has been created, but I couldn’t find it in the public domain
  • Conference Centre
    • Aparently a business case has been created, but I couldn’t find it in the public domain
  • Tertiary & Research Campus
    • Yay! Progress has been made on this. Construction of Stage 1 is due for completion by 2020
  • Strand Night Management
    • This included moving the pedestrian walkway out to make more room for outdoor dining – Done!
  • Masonic Park
    • Changes to the physical features have been made. New rules and guidelines have been set for it’s use. – Done! (But this space is likely to change again once the Civic Heart project is finalised)
  • Public Art
    • Hairy Maclary public sculpture is in place – Done!
  • Transportation Centre
    • Has been moved to Willow St / Wharf St in 2011 – Done!
    • But this centre could move again depending on the Civic Heart project
  • Museum
    • Tauranga Moana Museum Trust was formed to start planning and delivery
    • The latest news on this was that the council declined a funding request for a feasibility study and project manager so this project has been a dead duck for some time
    • Perhaps it will get a new lease of life shortly, as it is included as an option in the Civic Heart project
  • Mainstreet Marketing Strategy
    • Tuskany was appointed to develop a campaign. Mainstreet Tauranga engages the public well which is great to see

2. What Citizens Dislike

The second section of interest to me is this list of features that citizens most often mentioned as being disliked:

  • The City Centre being segregated from the waterfront by the train and the carpark
  • Lack of free, short term parking that is clear and accessible for shoppers
  • Poor quality pedestrian links to or around the City Centre
  • Poor entrances to the City Centre at Dive Crescent and Elizabeth Street
  • The run-down appearance of Dive Crescent and The Strand extension
  • Early closing hours of the shops
  • Lack of family entertainment options

From my point of view, I’d say these issues are the same today as they were in 2012.

3. Improvements Suggested By Citizens

The third section is this list of opportunities for future improvement most frequently suggested:

  • Closure of The Strand to create a pedestrian focused outdoor dining area
  • Dive Crescent and The Strand extension – new opportunities to embrace the waterfront
  • Potential for redevelopment of the Old Masonic site and Cliff Road area.  
  • Better public transport links to the City Centre
  • More public art and a new Museum
  • Better reflection of Maori culture in buildings and art
  • Maintenance of heritage buildings
  • A regular farmers’ market in the City Centre
  • Cultural and entertainment opportunities such as festivals and music events that cater for all ages, for both day and night time
  • Longer and more consistent shopping hours, better variety of shops and a supermarket
  • Improvement in the quality of architecture in new buildings
  • A prouder civic presence in the City Centre
  • More green spaces and trees, places to sit, botanical gardens
  • More people to live or work in the city

There are some great ideas in there!

4. Open Space Map

The fourth section that caught my eye is this proposed map of open space.

green-cbd

It has great ideas for how to improve the flow of pedestrians and adding open areas and lining the roads with greenery. There is no mention of cyclist though, which I would have liked to see.

The date stamp on this map is 2007 and here we are 9 years later and the only thing we have to show for it is more car traffic on the roads and increased demand for car parks, which has made the situation even harder for pedestrians (and cyclists).

5. Car Parking

The fifth and final section in this document of interest to me is about Car Parking.

Did you know that an street level car park costs about $10,000 to build, but one inside a car parking building costs about $40,000? Compare that with how much a parking meter might be fed in an entire year, or even 10!

  • Source
  • $8/day x 250 days per year x 10 years = $20,000. You are less than half way to paying for the car park after 10 years because my calculation ignores interest charges and maintenance

I think that explains why the council is perceived to be very slow to erect new carparking buildings. The number one strategy is to utilise the existing carparks before building new ones.

The key question is “what is the capacity of on-street and off-street car parks at peak times”?

If the answer is less than 100% then there is a carpark out there for you, but you just don’t know where it is.

Technology could help here. Imagine a day when your car could reserve a car park for you and direct you there.

Until then, car parking will always be an issue downtown because you and I want to park outside our destination, and it drives us crazy when we know we can get free parking in the shopping centres in the suburbs but not in the city centre.

Your Thoughts?

What do you think of my notes? Anything that catches your eye? Have your say in the comment section below.

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