Big moves are important, multi-year projects that reflect what we are trying to achieve against our strengths and opportunities and are intended to ensure ongoing progress towards the 2030 goals.
What are our Big Moves for 2017/18?
The big moves for the 2017/18 year may lead into planning and projects for the next long-term plan.
Planning for future growth (a district spatial plan)
We need to ensure we are prepared for ongoing growth and the challenge is to enable development that protects what makes our district special, while at the same time propelling Rotorua forward. Community input will help us develop a spatial plan. It will be the blueprint for how we want our district to look in the future, setting out areas for future residential, commercial and industrial development and the intensity of that development.
This will be one of several important building blocks that will fit together to help us achieve our 2030 vision.
Affordable housing that meets needs
We want to ensure housing in the district meets community needs and both Council and the community are concerned about current pressures on housing stock, housing affordability and how we can support people into emergency and subsidised rental housing in the district.
Council is investigating the potential to establish with local partners, a community housing provider that would then have access to Central Government funding. Management of Council's 152 pensioner houses might also be transferred to another provider. This project will also look at zoning within the spatial and district plans and may require plan changes.
Unlocking land for development remains a focus for the district. Council will look at how to encourage development that supports the need for additional residential sections and commercial/industrial expansion on land Council owns and has identified as surplus. An independent company or council-controlled organisation (CCO) will be needed to ensure transparency and enable investment negotiations to be undertaken.
Achieving this may require establishing a new CCO, one that could work more closely with iwi and commercial investors. This presents another important opportunity to support district growth and development.
Eastern corridor development
A good roading network is vital to the growth of our district, helping us to unlock land for development and ensuring ease of movement across, and in and out of our district. Traffic volumes have been increasing and there are pressures on our Eastern corridor in particular.
Council is working closely with the New Zealand Transport Agency (NZTA) on plans and a set of actions needed to ensure the local roading network will meet the district's growing needs. In order to keep pace Council may need to consider some early investment (possibly the airport roundabout) to unlock additional land for commercial/industrial development.
Forest entrance improvements
The Redwoods and Whakarewarewa Forest are important recreational areas for the Rotorua community, as well as being assets that attract events and tourism.
Council is considering options for improving Long Mile Road and improvements at Waipa, the high-use entrances to these forest trail networks used by walkers, runners, bikers and horse riders.
Check the Waipa projects page for both completed and currently underway, development work.
Improvements will need to be considered in the context of a wider master plan for the forests including investment cases for development of accommodation, chair lift and other service options for forest users. These will be important investment propositions for iwi and have the potential to attract Central Government funding support for tourism infrastructure development.
Lakefront revitalisation (city ring of reserves)
Council is proposing to undertake some detailed planning with stakeholders and the community on the key reserve areas around the city (Kuirau Park, lakefront, Government Gardens and the Sanatorium Reserve).
This work will provide a vision for the reserves development but will also establish areas where private investment can be included to be able to leverage funds to enhance the reserve and provide ongoing revenue.
Aquatic Centre investment case
The community has asked for investment in our aquatic centre. Council included funding for an upgrade in its 2015-25 Long-term Plan and a strong investment case will be developed to encourage private sector investment to significantly expand the facility.
Reserve planning will be another important component. Council will need to make a decision to prioritise the work and will need to choose between a single partnership proposal (ie to agree, with a partner, to upgrade and build at the same time) or to take a two-stage approach (upgrade and then seek a partner for additional elements).