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Tunks Reserve and Elizabeth Street East upgrade

We’re preparing to upgrade the eastern end of Elizabeth Street and the walkway down the hill to The Strand, to create an attractive and safe environment connecting to the water’s edge.

Tunks Reserve concept

We’re planning the upgrade of the streetscape on Elizabeth St East and Tunks Reserve, including creating a new lookout over the harbour.

What will the upgrade provide?

We want to create a vibrant public place – a pedestrian- and cycle-friendly, high quality urban environment where people will want to spend time and connect. The space will reflect Tauranga’s uniqueness, recognising the site’s history and significance to mana whenua.

This will involve:

  • upgrading the streetscape on Elizabeth Street east of Devonport Rd with new surfaces, seating, planting and parking layout  
  • improving the access down the bank (through Tunks Reserve): a safer and accessible pathway to link Elizabeth Street and The Strand, which caters for people on bikes as well as pedestrians
  • creating a new lookout onto Te Awanui Harbour
  • upgrading underground infrastructure (water supply, wastewater, stormwater) to future-proof the surrounding area for future development.

The area will connect Elizabeth Street to the waterfront and Matapihi rail bridge, and provide sightlines across Te Awanui Harbour.

Why are we upgrading this area?

Our city centre is transforming, with lots of development led by both the public and private sectors to create a modern and exciting area for residents and visitors to enjoy, including our civic redevelopment projects. As part of this, we are upgrading key city centre streetscapes and public spaces. This will contribute to transforming Tauranga City Centre into the civic, commercial and cultural capital of the western Bay of Plenty – a city centre we can all enjoy and be proud of.

Work is underway to upgrade the streetscape on Elizabeth Street between Grey Street and Devonport Road, and other streets surrounding Thirty Eight Elizabeth – the new Farmer’s development. Upgrading Elizabeth Street east and Tunks Reserve is an extension of this work, and will create a seamless, attractive and safe connection down to the water’s edge. In the future this would connect with the Memorial Pathway, proposed to link The Strand to Memorial Park.

The infrastructure upgrades to be delivered as part of this project will also support future development in the area, including of council’s administration building at 82-90 Devonport Road.

Process: building on previous community discussions and concepts

We engaged with the community in 2017 and 2018 to find out what people wanted to see in the area. We developed concept plans on that basis, but the project was put on hold. 

In 2017 and 2018 people told us they wanted us to:

  • keep vegetation but ensure good visibility for safety especially lighting down steps; increase visibility into shops and adjoining properties as well
  • provide for cycling
  • link with Memorial Park to Strand coastal path proposal
  • create a loop walk, down the steps and along to The Strand
  • have a unified design of details around central city
  • embed Māori art
  • create reasons for people to use the space – more than just seating: potential for activation, a child-friendly environment, wifi etc.
  • provide space for larger groups to meet
  • make a feature of the location: aspect over the harbour, elevated location
  • favour low speed transport
  • introduce more colour into the streetscape.

Tunks image

Artist impression of the proposed walkway up Tunks Reserve connecting to Elizabeth St East, from 2017 concept designs.

Artist impression of proposed walkway

We are now updating the 2017 concept plans, including to ensure we provide for people with bikes to use the accessway.

Where to from here?

The project is back on as of end of 2021. We’ll be working over the next few months with mana whenua, neighbouring residents and businesses and other stakeholders to update the concept plans, and agree on a final design for the area.

Construction is planned for mid-2022 to mid-2023. During this time, pedestrian access will be maintained along footpaths to businesses on Elizabeth Street at all time. Vehicle access to adjoining properties will also be maintained, with possible diversions around work areas. Tunks Reserve will likely need to be closed for up to four months to enable rebuilding the walkway. We will share more detailed information from mid-2022 when we have a plan for construction.

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  • Refresh existing concept plans

    November-December 2021
  • Develop detailed design for the area

    January to May 2022
  • Award contract for construction

    May 2022
  • Construction begins

    July 2022
  • Construction ends

    March 2023

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