Proposed City Plan changes are set to transform Tauranga over the coming years, as the city builds up as well as out and accommodates more of its growing population within its existing footprint.
The Te Papa peninsula has a key role to play in supporting ‘internal growth’ and Tauranga City Council Commission Chair Anne Tolley says that makes the upgrading of main transport corridors like Cameron Road all the more important.
“Tauranga is on the verge of an exciting transformation, as we move to manage our growth and invest to create the thriving and liveable city residents have told us they want, for themselves and for future generations,” says Tolley. “In that regard, the decisions we make today are crucial. This is why it is strategically important to invest a bit more in the Futureproofing Cameron Road project now, to ensure that we achieve the outcomes the community has highlighted through the recent consultation process," she says.
Tauranga City Council’s General Manager: Strategy & Growth, Christine Jones, says the Cameron Road corridor and the wider Te Papa peninsula are well-placed to help accommodate some of our growth. “We are proposing that parts of the Te Papa peninsula provide for increased density, such as apartment living and townhouses, to support a larger population. Visible change along the corridor will happen over time, as people decide to redevelop,” she says.
At the Council meeting on 30 August, Tauranga City Council Commissioners approved an increase in the project’s budget to $60.5 million, three-quarters of which will be covered by a Crown Infrastructure Partners grant. The additional funding provided – $13 million split over the next two financial years – will cover the nationwide construction sector cost increases which have occurred since the project was approved. It will also allow connectivity, safety and amenity outcomes requested by the community to be included in the project scope.
Tolley says the Cameron Road project is an essential step in providing for the growing city’s needs. “While the project will cater for a higher population living and working in the Te Papa peninsula in the future, the infrastructure upgrades planned will also benefit the wider community and business sector now,” she says.
“With the recent and upcoming development happening in the city centre, such as the waterfront upgrade, University campus and Durham Street overhaul, the Farmers development, new apartments and student accommodation and Wharf Street Eats, the potential for a modern and exciting city centre is clear to see. Futureproofing Cameron Road is critically important, because it will provide better access to a vibrant city centre,” she adds.
Early work along Cameron Road began in July to upgrade the city’s wastewater services. Above-the-ground work will commence shortly after Tauranga moves to COVID-19 Alert Level 3, including new, peak travel-time bus lanes in both directions and a two-way cycleway, along with improvements to make the Cameron Road area safer and more walkable, attractive and community-friendly.
Tolley says that in conjunction with proposed City Plan changes to facilitate new housing opportunities and the amenities and infrastructure required by a growing Te Papa population, Futureproofing Cameron Road provides an opportunity to “get in front of growth and manage it”.
“We need to build better connecting roads, but we also need to provide alternatives that allow people to get around by walking, cycling and on public transport. Not acting now will end up costing us far more in the future and affect our ability to create the sort of city people want to live, learn, work and play in,” she says.
To ensure that the necessary foundations are in place to support the city’s growth, council is working closely with its partners, including tangata whenua, Central Government, the Bay of Plenty Regional Council and Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency. Key decisions on providing future infrastructure, such as bus lanes, cycleways and new or upgraded roads, are considered at a partnership level, to ensure balanced outcomes are achieved.
Namouta Poutasi, Bay of Plenty Regional Council Toi Moana General Manager Strategy & Science, says the city’s challenges have been decades in the making and will take some time to fix. “It’s important that we start that process now and we are committed to working together to achieve the environmentally-sustainable solutions our communities need today, and in the future.”
“An effective public transport system requires a collaborative approach between all our partners - Regional Council and operators, territorial local authorities and Waka Kotahi, as well as the input and support of local residents,” says Poutasi. “We’ll keep working with these groups and other stakeholders to ensure the public transport system we deliver integrates well with community needs, other transport modes and land-use development.”
Jess Andrew, Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency Regional Manager System Design says that for urban areas to thrive, people need to be able to move around easily and have a range of choices about how they get to work, connect with family and friends and access services. “We need to build a modern transport system with a mix of reliable transport options that help keep people and products moving safely. Transforming Cameron Road is a significant step in delivering the Urban Form and Transport Initiative Connected Centres programme, which will ensure existing and future communities have greater and safer travel choices to get people where they need to go,” she says.
Tolley says the needs of the community, both today and in the future, have been taken into consideration and balanced against each other. “The final Cameron Road design includes new part-time bus lanes, retention of the existing traffic lanes, a new two-way cycleway, new loading bays and clearways where needed, intersection improvements and more signalised pedestrian crossings, as well as landscaping and stormwater upgrades. These improvements accommodate the community’s requests, while providing a technical solution which will make Cameron Road safer, more attractive, and provide better ways for people to travel,” she says.
Council has awarded the Futureproofing Cameron Road contract to a Joint Venture between local firms Fulton Hogan and Downer NZ. “This enables both firms to join forces and work closely together to deliver the best outcome for council and the community,” says Tauranga City Council’s Director of Transport, Brendan Bisley.
“We’re living in one of the fastest growing cities in New Zealand. To deliver a big city project like Futureproofing Cameron Road, you need big city thinking. Fulton Hogan and Downer’s joint venture model not only allows for greater agility, but it provides a more streamlined construction approach with considerable expertise and resourcing,” he says.
To view the detailed design concepts and for more information about Futureproofing Cameron Road please visit www.tauranga.govt.nz/cameronroad.