Work on controversial car park to start next month
The former Phoenix car park in Mount Maunganui is expected to be transformed into a green space by December in time for the summer season— but not everyone is happy.
The controversial $2 million project met opposition from some local retailers and residents but was approved by Tauranga City Council inApril last year.
Senior strategic adviser Fiona Nalder said about 70 per cent of the funding was from development contributions and renewal budgets with the remainder of costs being picked up by a rate-funded loan. Construction of the project would start next month.
Ms Nalder said the new space would support the growing visitor and residential population by inviting people to stay longer in the Mount CBD, with local businesses enjoying the economic benefits through increased foot traffic.
“It will create a greater sense of belonging for our community by encouraging social interaction through a shared space to rest and play.”
The park would have native plantings and trees, a grassed area and could be used for events, including markets, and was designed for people to enjoy, she said.
Mount Maunganui/Pa¯pa¯moa ward councillor Leanne Brown said it had been a long journey and a “leap of faith”.
There had been a lot of scepticism, but she was hoping it would be as successful as the Pilot Bay boardwalk when it was at the same stage.
“I don’t think anyone would disagree that it wasn’t a good decision at the time. I don’t think people will truly believe in it until it’s finished and done and starts being utilised.” She acknowledged some peoplewere concerned about parking, but the council was working on a plan.
Artastic Print Place owner Mark Rundell, who was a strong opponent of the green space, said since January his business was down significantly. “I’ve lost thousands of dollars.” He was also aware of other businesses who had faced the same predicament. In his view losing the car park was the wrong decision.
“The council will go boldly where no one else wants to go.” Mr Rundell said he would not be surprised if some businesses in the Mount folded as parkingwas still amajor issue.
Construction on the Phoenix car park will start next month and is expected to finish in December.