Rotorua Future Development Strategy adopted
Elected Members from Rotorua Lakes Council and Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council have today adopted the Rotorua Future Development Strategy (FDS), the guide for where Rotorua will grow and develop over the next 30 years.
The FDS is a long-term strategy that identifies areas where there is potential for future housing and business growth to meet demand, and ensure we have a well-functioning urban environment. It also guides how both councils, along with land and business owners, mana whenua and the government, will work together to achieve good urban form that provides for the social, economic and cultural wellbeing of the Rotorua community.
“The FDS is locally led, locally informed and will provide confidence to the community about what the future of Rotorua could look like,” says Rotorua Mayor, Tania Tapsell.
“I want to thank the hundreds of community members, the many young people, iwi representatives and experts that took time to share their views and aspirations to shape this strategy. This is our opportunity to put those views and aspirations into place.”
“We have seen what can happen when there’s no plan for growth, it hurts the community and I don’t want to see that happen here in Rotorua.”
Deputy Mayor, Sandra Kai Fong says that addressing the housing shortage is a key priority for this Council.
“As an incoming Council we confirmed and identified that the housing shortage was a priority, and that we needed to ensure there was sufficient capacity for development. The Future Development Strategy is a tool to help us have the right zoning for housing and business and to assist us with future infrastructure planning .
“We can’t predict what is going to happen in the future, but this Strategy provides a road map so we can plan ahead, making sure development happens in the right places, at the right time and in the right way.”
A number of outcomes were identified to direct the development of the FDS and ultimately the strategy seeks to achieve them by:
- Planning for enough zoned land to meet housing and businesses demand and allow for competition in the market over the next 30 years.
- Directing where and when council and other organisations should invest in infrastructure to support that growth in an efficient manner
- Ensuring that growth happens in a sustainable way that prioritises the wellbeing of the community and the natural environment.
The FDS was developed over a period of 18 months, building on previous growth plans, population projections and local land development data. A technical evidence base was developed to inform the strategy along with direct feedback from iwi and hapū, developers, landowners, government, students and the wider community.
Public consultation opened on 1 June 2023 and hearings followed in August. Council received 109 submissions via public drop-in sessions, direct surveys and emails, workshops and hui with community groups and mana whenua.
Following public feedback, and a review by the Rotorua Future Development Strategy Joint Committee, a number of changes were made to the draft document. The most significant changes were the addition to two areas for residential growth at the southern end of Ngongotahā Road adjacent to State Highway 5. Other changes included clarifications, additional information required and text edits to improve readability. The FDS Joint Committee, which was made up of Elected Members from Rotorua Lakes Council and Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council with an independent Chairperson, approved the FDS on 24 October, recommending its adoption by the Councils subject to the changes being made.
Toi Moana Councillors, Jane Nees, Te Taru White and Lyall Thurston, were members of the Joint Committee. Councillor Thurston says this long-term strategy sets an exciting vision for Rotorua's urban environment.
“This process has been a catalyst for good conversations about where, and importantly how, new housing and businesses can support Rotorua's projected population growth over the next 30 years. There are plenty of competing interests when it comes to accommodating urban growth over the long-term but the Rotorua Future Development Strategy helps to set Rotorua on the right path”, he says.
After today’s adoption by Rotorua Lakes Council and Toi Moana Bay of Plenty Regional Council at their respective meetings, the next step will be to develop the Implementation Plan and its coordination. The Implementation Plan will set out key projects and their associated timing and staging to support expected short, medium and long-term growth.
An interim copy of the Rotorua Future Development Strategy is available to view HERE.
A finalised document including any minor edits will be available in February 2024.
Why has the FDS been developed?
Development of the FDS is directed by the Government, as part of its National Policy Statement on Urban Development. All territorial authorities are required to plan for growth in order to create well-functioning urban environments that provide for the community’s wellbeing, improve housing availability and affordability, and protect the natural environment.
What is Rotorua Lakes Council’s role in growth?
Council’s role isn’t about physically building homes and businesses. Its role is to facilitate and manage growth. This could look like District Plan changes to free up land for development, partnering with key agencies, and ensuring infrastructure is in place and ready for future homes and businesses to use in the right locations to achieve growth outcomes.
How often is the FDS reviewed?
Every three years, with a new FDS required every six years.
(A three-yearly review of the Rotorua FDS and ongoing monitoring of development will help us evaluate how fast ou urban areas are growing and whether there is a need to speed up or slow down our response to demand).
What is the role of Rotorua Lakes Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council?
The National Policy Statement - Urban Development 2020 (NPSUD) (subpart 4) states that every tier 1 and 2 local authority must prepare an FDS. RLC and BOPRC are both tier 2 local authorities for the Rotorua urban area. The NPSUD states that if there is more than one local authority with jurisdiction over an urban environment (in this case Rotorua) then those local authorities are jointly responsible for preparing and implementing an FDS.