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Making Waves?

Final fate of Rotorua reserves to be decided

Rotorua Lakes Council building. Photo / Andrew Warner / Rotorua Daily Post.

The final fate of seven Rotorua reserve sites, the implementation of developer contributions and a $1.5 million contract for a new reservoir will be considered at the final council meeting of the term.

It will be the final council meeting for mayor Steve Chadwick, as well as her deputy, Dave Donaldson, with neither standing for re-election.

The meeting, held on Thursday morning, will conclude four months of torrid debate on Rotorua Lakes Council’s reserves revocation proposal, which was revealed in April via documents obtained by Local Democracy Reporting.

The proposal sparked four petitions totalling more than 1200 signatures opposed to the revocation and sale of, at the time, 10 reserve sites across the city for housing development.

More than 600 submissions were received on the proposal.

Picketers opposed to the proposal are also expected at the council building before the meeting.

Earlier in the month, Strategy, Policy and Finance committee members’ debate on the proposal narrowed the proposal to seven reserve sites.

Glenholme Reserve – 171 Clinkard Ave – will be the only site sold directly to Kāinga Ora, despite the original proposal tipping six for direct sale to the public housing provider.

Steeles Ln, Coulter Rd and Lee Rd Reserves were eliminated by the committee and will be retained.

Thursday’s meeting will also consider the introduction of development contributions which would mean developers would, from December 1, be required to make a contribution to infrastructure to support development.

In May, some developers expressed dismay at the proposed policy, with one saying it would “kill the goose that lays the golden egg” and dissuade investment, but one said as long as the charges were "realistic and reasonable" they were fair.

The council has previously said if developers don’t pay the charge, the cost will likely go back on ratepayers, and the policy is in line with many other councils across the country.

The council will also consider final sign-off on the disposal of a former reserve at 283 Clayton Rd.

The land, assessed at a value of about $1.3m, was revoked as a reserve in 1984 and a report to a committee earlier this month stated the land had not been sold “due to complaints from neighbouring properties”.

The council will also consider delegating authority to chief executive Geoff Williams to approve the award of a $1.5m design and build contract for a 1500 m3 reservoir on Tarawera Rd.

The project was identified in the 2021-2031 Long-term Plan and was aimed at allowing further development in Rotorua’s east.

The design and build tender closing date had been extended due to “further minor geotechnical investigations” according to the agenda for Thursday’s council meeting.

The delay means tenders will not be received in time for the meeting, and the council will not meet again until after the October election.

Authority was required for Williams to act on the council’s behalf to approve the contract if the council wished to avoid further delays and risk rising material cost pressures and missing a chunk of summer construction weather.

The council will also consider nine topics in a public-excluded section of Thursday’s meeting, including a “property development project”, the contract for the construction of stage one of the Tarawera sewerage scheme and the chief executive’s performance review.

Thursday’s council meeting will be held in the Rotorua Lakes Council chamber and is open to the public, and will be livestreamed via the council website or its Youtube page.

-Local Democracy Reporting is public interest journalism funded by NZ On Air.



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