Council will work with current leaseholders on concept plans for greater community access to the whole reserve land. This will include play areas, covered court space, planted/walkway areas, parking improvements, a skatepark and connections to Kopurererua Valley. The community will be invited to provide feedback later this year on what is proposed through the concept plan for the best use of the recreational space.
A new lease for Tauranga Golf Course is recommended, with the condition that greater community access is both enabled and encouraged, and that future infrastructure needs are catered for.
The Tauranga Equestrian Sports Association, which also uses the Racecourse Reserve, is having its future needs considered through the equestrian strategy – currently under development via Sport BOP and in conjunction with Equestrian Sport NZ.
The recommendations in the report for enhanced community use of the Racecourse Reserve land align with the outcomes of the Our Direction project.
Tauranga City Council will further consider the Tauranga Racecourse lease when the business case for the new hospital is completed in July 2024. This business case will be a critical factor in determining what happens with the racecourse reserve land in the future.
Should the Racecourse need to move in the future as a result of Te Whatu Ora requiring some of the land for health purposes, there is a potential alternative location option available. (This remains confidential due to commercial sensitivities.)
Council will continue to engage with mana whenua on any matters to do with recreational and accessibility improvements to the Reserve land (particularly around the recognition of cultural history and narratives across this site) and notes the Te Whatu Ora business case, and any potential Treaty claim process arising, will remain between mana whenua and the Crown.
Other resolutions in the report include:
- a new governance arrangement to be established for the Racecourse Reserve
- the sub-regional Racing Working Group (which was established to consider possible future sites for a Bay of Plenty racecourse) to meet after deliberations and then recess until the health business case outcomes are known
- funding for the development of the recreation and community improvements at the Racecourse will be considered via the Long-term Plan budget setting.