The Tauranga community can expect to see an exciting transformation taking place at a familiar downtown location in the coming months.
A blessing of the site, commonly known as the Goddards Centre, took place this morning, opening the way for the creation of a community hub that will house Tauranga City Council’s customer service centre and central library for the next four years.
The council facilities will move to the arcade between Devonport Road and Grey Street early next year, so the existing buildings at the civic precinct can be demolished.
Local kaumātua, Tamati Tata of Ngāi Tamarāwaho, this morning led a small group, including the Commissioners, mana whenua, council staff and project team members, through the area providing a karakia to clear the way for, not only the works, but also the multifaceted future use of the site.
Commission Chair Anne Tolley says today’s blessing is a significant occasion.
“With this blessing from mana whenua, we now move another step closer to bringing to life a vision for the civic precinct that the community has told us they want,” says Anne.
“In the meantime, we look forward to seeing this temporary space transformed into a vibrant community hub that will help breathe life into this part of the city centre and generate much-needed support for the surrounding businesses.”
Commissioner Shad Rolleston says the council facilities will be based at the temporary location until 2025, when the first major phase of the civic precinct project is expected to be completed.
Shad says detailed design plans for the temporary space are almost finalised and will be shared with the community shortly.
“We have been working alongside mana whenua and the architects to ensure the plans reflect and respect the cultural history of the site in a way that brings life to community activity onsite.
“While only temporary, we see this as a great opportunity to create a space where everyone in the community can come together to access important council services, spend time learning and exploring, and feel connected with the rich history of our city.”
The fit-out of the temporary location will begin later this week and is expected be completed in phases. It’s expected that the customer service centre will be open by the end of January, followed by the central library in March.
Customer Services Manager Margaret Batchelar says the project team is working hard behind the scenes in preparation for the move.
“We are committed to ensuring there is minimal disruption for our community and will keep everyone updated as we get closer to our move date.”
Libraries Manager Joanna Thomas says careful planning is required so the library’s extensive collection of resources, books and taonga can be relocated safely, and easily accessed in the new location.
“We are excited to see the space come to life and are confident everyone in the community will enjoy everything on offer when we move the central library next year.”
About the wider civic precinct redevelopment project
Council and mana whenua, in association with Willis Bond and Studio Pacific Architects, are undertaking a refresh of the Civic Masterplan completed in 2017.
The refresh is considering community feedback received during the recent Long-term Plan process about the various activities and amenities people would like to see in the civic precinct.
The refresh is also needed to consider and reflect the significant cultural history of the whenua (land). In turn, this adds balance and richness to the look and feel of our city centre.
It is expected the refreshed masterplan will include places for gathering, learning, exploring, debating, entertaining and remembering the past, and include the possibility of facilities such as a discovery centre, library, museum, public meeting venues and open space, performance venue, conference centre and a hotel.
The refresh is expected to be completed later this year (2021) and reported to the Commission, along with a development timeline and funding and construction plan.
The first major phase of the civic precinct redevelopment will include a facility that will, at a minimum, house a new central library and community hub. Construction is planned to commence in 2022 and be completed in the middle of 2025.
Commission Chair Anne Tolley speaks about the temporary move of Tauranga City Council’s customer service centre and central library to the Goddards Centre early next year as part of a wider council project to redevelop the civic precinct in the city centre.
Local kaumātua, Tamati Tata of Ngāi Tamarāwaho (left), and Pou Ahurea - Principle Cultural Advisor to TCC, Josh Te Kani (Ngāti Ranginui Ngāi Te Rangi Ngāti Pukenga) (right), lead a karakia this morning through the site where Tauranga City Council’s customer service centre and central library will be based from early next year.
Left to right: Commissioners Shad Rolleston, Bill Wasley, Stephen Selwood and Anne Tolley (Chair) at this morning’s blessing.