Tauranga City and the Western Bay of Plenty District have seen a rapid and sustained increase in population, with the sub-region’s population expected to increase and reach between 246,100 and 317,500 people in the next 30 years.
We know people want to live and work in Tauranga, and this is driving the need for investment in infrastructure to accommodate the demand for housing that we’re currently experiencing in the area and will see in future.
The Keenan Road area has been identified as a future urban growth area for some time. It started with the SmartGrowth Strategy in 2007 and it was then included in the Bay of Plenty Regional Policy Statement’s Urban Limits. It remains in the SmartGrowth Strategy and was reinforced through the Urban Form and Transport Initiative in 2020.
The recent boundary change from Western Bay of Plenty District to Tauranga City was based on the land being urbanised in the near term as part of the growth of Tauranga City and serviced by Tauranga City Council infrastructure. Future improvements for State Highway 29 and 29A proposed by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency are currently being investigated as a factor in supporting the new Keenan Road community.
Tauranga must comply with the National Policy Statement on Urban Development (NPS-UD) which requires a minimum of 10 years supply of housing. Tauranga does not meet this, and the Keenan Road Urban Growth Area project is proposed to supply enough housing to help meet expected demand alongside the Tauriko West urban growth area, ongoing development of Te Tumu and infill and intensification in the existing city.
Building a new community
We have identified Keenan Road in Pyes Pā, part of what is known as the Western Corridor, as an ideal location to set up a new community and provide more residential housing to cater for this growth. Keenan Road is one of the large-scale urban developments proposed to support Tauranga's growth, by building a new community with an estimated 2,500 new homes staged over the next 20-30 years.
Building this community will require improvements to the transport network. We are working with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, mana whenua, Bay of Plenty Regional Council, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and the wider community to understand and design the improvements required along State Highway 36 and Pyes Pa Road to allow for the first stages of housing development.
We've started work to progress the structure plan for the new community within the Keenan Road Urban Growth Area. Geotechnical, stormwater and environmental assessments are underway.
The planning process
Building the new community at Keenan Road requires changes to the Tauranga City Plan. This is a statutory process under the Resource Management Act 1991 (RMA).
Currently, the land within Keenan Road is zoned rural. We need to change the City Plan to rezone the land to an urban zone so housing can be developed. The plan change will also outline the rules that will apply to the development and guide consent decisions.
The plan change process will involve mana whenua, landowner, stakeholder, and community participation (including submissions and hearings).
We are aiming to notify the Keenan Road plan change in mid-2024 (subject to the outcomes of the various technical studies and feedback on consultation).
The Structure Plan will show us where the key elements of the new community would be located and integrates with the transport planning underway, the rezoning proposal and rule framework, the assessment of effects, and development of a comprehensive stormwater consent.
The transport network
To support the new community, we will require improvements to the transport network, both upgrading connections onto SH36, Pyes Pa Road and the wider Western Corridor, and developing a new multi-modal internal road layout.
We are currently investigating these transport infrastructure needs to develop the new Keenan Road community through a business case.
This new community will need walking and cycling infrastructure to connect people within Pyes Pa, the Lakes, Tauriko Business Estate, and future growth areas, as well as public transport provisions to connect the growth area to the CBD and beyond.
The business case will determine connections onto SH36 and investigate a ring route link to SH29 via Kaweroa Drive, crossing the Kopurererua stream.
As part of this we are investigating future improvements for State Highway 29 and 29A proposed by Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency as a factor in supporting the new Keenan Road community.
Your feedback plays a valuable role in shaping Keenan Road
Our aim is to develop a resilient and connected community. Council is investigating some proposals and ideas for the new community – where houses, open spaces, schools and other key facilities could be located, as well as ways we can protect the natural and cultural environment.
We are working together with Waka Kotahi NZ Transport Agency, Western Bay of Plenty District Council and Bay of Plenty Regional Council to create a safe transport network to cater for Tauranga and the sub-region’s strong population growth.
In September 2023, we sought feedback on our investigations in Keenan Road to help us shape the growth area and the transport improvements through drop-in sessions and an online survey. Consultation ran from Thursday, 31 August through to Thursday, 28 September. Take a look at our frequently asked questions from our recent drop-in sessions as part of our public consultation.
Now this phase of consultation and engagement is complete, we are evaluating the feedback we've received, and it will be included alongside input from partners and stakeholders and considered together with the technical and funding recommendations.