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Welcome Bay and Ohauiti planning study

We’re leading a study to define whether further growth is possible in Welcome Bay and Ohauiti, and what issues need to be solved to make this possible.

Over the last year, Tauranga City Council has received several proposals from people and companies wanting to develop land in Welcome Bay and Ohauiti into residential housing. The Welcome Bay and Ohauiti suburbs were planned in the 1990s and development of these areas is now mostly complete with current population of these suburbs sitting at 15,000 people. Under current planning rules, the undeveloped land in these areas could potentially host another 2000 to 3000 people.

Given the pressures facing these suburbs, we have decided to conduct a comprehensive planning study of the whole area. The purpose of the study is to identify areas that may be suitable for further urban development in the future, and understand what it would take to provide the appropriate infrastructure to support any new residential areas there, as well as current residents.

The Welcome Bay and Ohauiti Planning Study takes into account the range of issues these communities are currently facing. This includes traffic congestion, lack of education options, lack of retail and commercial areas, and other infrastructure constraints like water supply and wastewater. Some of these issues are being addressed through other projects currently underway (see ‘related projects’ below), while other issues are not being actively addressed yet.

Until these issues are addressed, we will be holding off from considering any proposals for Special Housing Areas in these areas. 

What the study will look at

The key work streams include:

  • Development and land use: identification of areas suitable for further development/intensification both in the immediate and longer term
  • Infrastructure: investigation of servicing issues, opportunities and costs covering – three waters, transportation, electricity, gas and fibre
  • Social infrastructure: investigation of the social and community infrastructure needs such as schools and community facilities
  • Commercial and retail: investigation of the appropriate size, location and scale of local commercial/retail centres for each catchment.

The planning study will help us gain a better understanding of the infrastructure needs, options and costs within both areas, and provide a comprehensive approach to the delivery of infrastructure in Welcome Bay and Ohauiti.

Potential outcomes

If we find that further development potential exists in Welcome Bay/Ohauiti and that existing constraints to enabling this development can be overcome, it would assist in managing the city’s ongoing population growth and achieving the targets set out in the Government’s National Policy Statement for Urban Development Capacity. 

Additional development/population would likely improve the business case for projects that would benefit the wider Welcome Bay and Ohauiti communities. 

Study progress

Stage 1 (complete): planning constraints and mapping of sites

The first stage of the study is to identify areas that may be suitable for further urban development in the future, if we find that it is feasible – physically and financially – to provide the infrastructure required.

We have mapped each property in the study area into three preliminary categories, based on existing information like ground conditions (e.g. slope, old slips), stormwater and other features of the land. The categories are:

  • green – suitable for urban development
  • orange – likely to be suitable for urban development, but requires further investigation
  • red – not suitable for urban development

Welcome Bay and Ohauiti planning study map

Welcome Bay and Ohauiti planning study map (4mb pdf)

Falling into the red category means that the property is considered not suitable for urban development, due to the planning constraints like ground conditions and features of the land identified on the property. 

Falling into the green or orange categories does not mean that a property will be or can be used for urban development. What it means is that based on what we know of the ground conditions and features of the land, urban development would be possible on the property should the landowner wish to look into this.

However a lot more information and investigation will be required before we can let any developer or landowner consider this as an option. This is part of the next stage of the planning study, the infrastructure assessment.

Stage 2 (in progress): infrastructure assessment and retail/commercial assessment

Having identified the properties which could be suitable for urban development, the next stage of the study is to investigate infrastructure capacity. This means looking at how (and at what cost) it would be possible to service the green and orange areas with water, stormwater, and wastewater connections, and provide any required roading upgrades.

This stage will also consider the type of social infrastructure (e.g. schools and community facilities) and commercial infrastructure (e.g. further retail/commercial areas) needed to support potential new residential areas, as well as the current residents. 

We will use the outcomes of this stage to assess the viability of proceeding with work to rezone the area for urban development.

Related projects

Some of the issues identified in Welcome Bay and Ohauiti are being addressed through a range of other projects currently underway, led by Council and/or partners like the Ministry of Education and the NZ Transport Agency:

  • We are investigating the possibility of a potential supermarket development in Welcome Bay on council-owned land, including consideration of impacts upon the community, along with the impact on existing facilities and uses of the land.
  • We are working with the Ministry of Education (MOE) on potential sites to locate a primary school.
  • The New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) are constructing the Hairini Link underpass project, although traffic modelling indicates that this will not resolve congestion issues on Welcome Bay Road or downstream on Turret Rd/15th Ave. 
  • We are investigating options for the 15th Ave/Turret Rd transport issues through a joint business case approach with NZTA. 
  • We are in the initial stages of developing an Urban Form Strategy and Urban Centres Technical Assessment to inform residential and commercial/retail growth. 
  • Following previous strategic studies, we are opening up two new growth areas to meet development capacity requirement. The supply provided within those areas will not be sufficient for the long-term residential development needs.


Committee report 6 June 2017 and project proposal - pages 33 to 46 (4.6mb pdf)

Committee report 3 April 2018 - pages 15 to 22 (12mb pdf)

Committee report 12 March 2019 - pages 39 to 72 (7.9mb pdf)

Last Reviewed: 17/04/2019


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