Rotorua reserves proposal, development contributions and Tarawera Rd reservoir on table for final board meeting

The Rotorua Council of Lakes building. Photo/Andrew Warner

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

This will be the last council meeting for Mayor Steve Chadwick, as well as his deputy, Dave Donaldson, with neither standing for re-election.

The meeting, held on Thursday morning, will conclude four months of heated debate over the proposal to revoke Rotorua Lakes Council reserves, which came to light in April via documents obtained by Local Democracy Reporting.

The proposal sparked four petitions totaling more than 1,200 signatures opposing the revoking and sale of, at the time, 10 reserve sites across the city for housing development.

Over 600 submissions were received on the proposal.

Strikers opposed to the proposal are also expected at the council building ahead of the meeting.

Earlier in the month, debate by members of the Strategy, Policy and Finance Committee on the proposal narrowed the proposal down to seven backup sites.

The Glenholme Reserve – 171 Clinkard Ave – would be the only site sold directly to Kāinga Ora, despite the original proposal calling for six for direct sale to the social housing provider.

The reserves of Steeles Ln, Coulter Rd and Lee Rd were eliminated by the committee and would be retained.

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

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

The council has previously said that if developers do not pay the fee, the cost will likely fall on ratepayers, and the policy is in line with many other councils across the country.

The board will also consider final approval for the surrender of a former reserve at 283 Clayton Rd.

The land, valued at around $1.3 million, was revoked as a reserve in 1984 and a report to a committee earlier that month said the land had not been sold “due to complaints from neighboring properties”.

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

Geoff Williams, Chief Executive of the Rotorua Lakes Council.  Photo/Andrew Warner
Geoff Williams, Chief Executive of the Rotorua Lakes Council. Photo/Andrew Warner

The project was identified in the long term plan 2021-2031 and was intended to enable further development in East Rotorua.

According to the agenda for Thursday’s council meeting, the closing date for design and construction tenders had been extended due to “minor new geotechnical investigations”.

The delay meant bids would not be received in time for the meeting and the council would not meet again until after the October election.

Authority was needed for Williams to act on behalf of the council to approve the contract if the council wished to avoid further delays and risk increasing material cost pressures and missing some of the summer construction weather.

The council will also consider nine topics in a public-only section of Thursday’s meeting, including a “property development project”, the contract for the construction of the first stage of the Tarawera sewerage system and the performance review of the general director.

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

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

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