We’re reclassifying a small part (approximately 6%) of Marine Park at Sulphur Point to allow for the development of a marine research and education facility.
The marine research and education facility will open the doors to at least 25 new jobs and open the doors to at least 25 new jobs, contributing an estimated economic boost of more than $30 million to the city.
Thanks for sharing your thoughts
In May and June 2022, we asked for your feedback on the proposal and two-thirds (66.3 per cent) of you supported the reclassification. After considering all the feedback at a meeting on 25 July 2022, Commissioners decided to go ahead with the reclassification, which was approved by the Minister of Conservation’s delegate in September 2022. Tauranga City Commissioners made the decision to reclassify the land based on the positive effect that the facility will have on our city’s economy, the increased research and education opportunities it will provide, and the flow-on benefits that research carried out at facility will have on climate change.
Read the report below.
Ordinary Council meeting (149mb pdf)
We’re inviting entities that can demonstrate the capability to establish and operate a marine research and education facility to apply to lease the land through a tender process. We expect the lease process to start in December 2022/January 2023. Once we have an approved tenderer, they’ll need to apply for consent to start construction.
What we proposed
To reclassify about 7,000m2 of land at the Marine Park from recreation reserve to local purpose (marine research and education facility) reserve to allow a marine research and education facility to be developed.
Every reserve under the Reserves Act has a classification, which determines the main purpose of the reserve. Our proposal sought to change the current recreation classification to something more suited to the intended use. The reclassification does not affect council’s ownership of the land, its reserve status, or the protections under the Reserves Act. Neither does it affect the recreation classification of the rest of the reserve; it simply means that the piece of land within the reserve can be used for the purpose of developing a marine research and education facility.
About the area of land at Marine Park
Aerial view of proposed area for reclassification
The reclassified area is adjacent to the overflow parking area. The rest of the reserve (about 10.7 hectares) remains recreation reserve. The land in question is shown on SO plan 530292 (148kb pdf) and in the overview document (2mb pdf).
We identified this 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 know that 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. This project is now in the master planning stage, which flowed from the Marine Facilities Strategy.
Formalised car parking and landscaping are also 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 reclassification and proposed 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.