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Proposed reclassification of part of Marine Park, Sulphur Point

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We’re proposing to change the classification of a small part (approximately 6%) of Marine Park at Sulphur Point, allowing a marine research and education facility to be developed in the future.

A marine research and education facility has the potential to play a key role in growing a sustainable economy that improves productivity and delivers prosperity to local people and communities.

In May and June 2022 we engaged with the community about the proposal. The Commissioners considered all feedback at a meeting on 25 July 2022, and Council has agreed to the reclassification of land at Marine Park, Sulphur Point.

More information can be found below in the Report to the Ordinary Council meeting in Section 11.3.

Ordinary Council meeting (149mb pdf)

Next steps

Once the reclassification is complete, entities that can demonstrate the capability to establish and operate a facility will be able to apply to lease the land through a tender process. The lease process is expected to start in September 2022.

What we proposed

To reclassify about 7,000mof land at the Marine Park from recreation reserve to local purpose (marine research and education facility) reserve. This would allow a marine research and education facility to be located there in the future. We believe this would bring many benefits and opportunities to our communities.

Every reserve under the Reserves Act has a classification, which determines the main purpose of the reserve. The proposal is to change the current recreation classification to something more suited to the intended use. The reclassification would not affect council’s ownership of the land, its reserve status, or the protections under the Reserves Act. It also would not affect the recreation classification of the rest of the reserve; it simply means that the piece of land within the reserve could be used for the purpose of developing a marine research and education facility in the future.

About the area of land at Marine Park

Aerial view of proposed area for reclassification

Aerial view of proposed area for reclassification

The proposed area for reclassification is an area which is adjacent to the overflow parking area. The rest of the reserve (about 10.7 hectares) would remain as recreation reserve. The land in question is shown on SO plan 530292 (148kb pdf) and in the overview document (2mb pdf).

We’ve identified the proposed site at Marine Park as the most suitable location for a marine research and education facility because of its proximity to the ocean, Tauranga city centre, tertiary and education institutions , boat ramps, and a deep-sea channel connected to the harbour entrance.

Parking and boat ramps 

We’re aware Marine Park is a popular boat launching location and that demand for parking and boat ramps will increase as the city grows. 

Funding for a new six-lane boat ramp has been included in our 2021-31 Long-term Plan.

Formalised car parking and additional boat ramps are being investigated as part of the council’s Marine Facilities Strategy, which will guide the way our community and visitors access Tauranga Harbour, Te Awanui, in the future. 

The proposed reclassification and facility does not impact on council’s plans to construct new boat ramps or parking.

Advantages of a marine research and education facility

The development of a marine research and education facility would allow Tauranga to further establish itself nationally and internationally in this important and valuable sector by increasing tertiary and post-tertiary education options.

Numerous public benefits have been identified, including: 

  • Increased quality and quantity of tertiary and post-tertiary education, allowing Tauranga to further establish itself in this important and valuable sector
  • Accessible marine and coastal environmental-based education, including for the Bay of Plenty’s primary and secondary education sector
  • Ongoing employment opportunities
  • Environmental benefits stemming from an increased capability to protect New Zealand's marine environments, such as developing innovative and sustainable responses to the effects of climate change
  • Sustainable and valuable commercial developments such as cancer drugs and nutraceutical products
  • Opportunities for applying a Māori lens to environmental management through mātauranga Māori.

Frequently Asked Questions

During our consultation in 2018, council sought to revoke the reserve status of approximately 7,000mof land at Marine Park. 

Now the proposal is to retain the land as a reserve, but to reclassify a portion of it, from recreation reserve to local purpose (marine research and education facility) reserve. Reclassifying the reserve will not affect council’s ownership of the land, its reserve status, or the protections under the Reserves Act. Reclassification provides the community with assurance that the land will remain protected by its reserve status.

To adhere to the requirements of the Reserves Act 1977, public consultation on the reclassification itself is required.

Following a decision from the Minister of Conservation during the previous revocation process, the revocation did not proceed.

An observational study of Marine Park, conducted between 25 January and 3 February 2019, concluded that there appeared to be little active recreational use of the grassed area between the Fish and Dive Club and the northern boundary of the reserve. People that were counted were generally passing through, walking dogs, fishing, socialising, or gaining access to the beach. During the busiest period observed, 11 people were seen using the area.

A more recent report confirmed that the area proposed for the facility is underutilised, with a maximum of 16 users counted on the afternoon of Sunday, 31 January 2021. These users were mostly associated with other zones in the Marine Park area, and generally consisted of people going or returning from fishing, vehicles or obtaining access to the beach and walking dogs. 

It’s intended that the public would be able to access parts of the facility for a range of educational and recreational activities. The detailed extent of public access and range of activities will form part of the lease tender assessment process.

If the reclassification is confirmed, there will be a tender process for a lease proposal for a marine research and education facility. This process would be open to applications from all entities that have an interest in, and which are able to demonstrate the capability of establishing and operating such a facility. Once a tenderer has been approved, they would then proceed with obtaining the necessary consents required to construct the facility.

Yes, the land may only be used in accordance with the classification, and in line with any required consents.

No, the location of the facility will not impact council’s ability to deliver the required levels of service for parking. It would be a requirement that the marine education and research facility has its own carpark within the reclassified land area.

No, the location of the facility would not impact car and trailer parking or access to boat ramps in the vicinity.

Funding for a new six-lane boat ramp has been included in our 2021-31 Long-term Plan, while formalised car parking and additional furniture and landscaping is being investigated as part of the council’s Marine Facilities Strategy.

We are proposing to reclassify about 7,000m2 (approximately 6%) of land at the Marine Park, leaving approximately 10.7 hectares of recreation reserve area.

The Marine Facilities Strategy will incorporate a masterplan for Sulphur Point including the location of the proposed facility.

The strategy identifies the growing demand for access to the water by power boats using the boat ramps and from non-powered craft such as dragon boats and waka ama. This has land-based implications including parking and ancillary facilities. 

Sulphur Point and Marine Park will need to continue to provide for this recreational use as there is limited public land with deep water access available in Tauranga. Growing demand for berths is another issue that will need to be resolved as Tauranga Marina has large waiting lists and there is a short supply of berthage for large vessels.  

Development of a masterplan for Sulphur Point will look at how these issues can be responded to within the areas of land available. The strategy will help to identify other options for how this demand can be met around Tauranga Harbour. If it is approved to go ahead, the reclassified land area would be incorporated into the masterplan. 

Funding for a new six-lane boat ramp has been included in our 2021-31 Long-term Plan.

Speech icon

Talk with a staff member

Gert van Staden, Senior Strategic Advisor
gert.vanstaden@tauranga.govt.nz
07 577 7000

Timeline

  • Open for written feedback

    Monday 16 May – Monday 20 June 2022
  • Public hearings

    June 2022
  • Report to confirm or abandon reclassification

    July 2022
  • Council Chief Executive confirm reclassification

    August 2022
  • Lease tender process starts

    September 2022 (TBC)

Speech icon

Talk with a staff member

Gert van Staden, Senior Strategic Advisor
gert.vanstaden@tauranga.govt.nz
07 577 7000

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