Update - September 2023
Thanks for sharing your thoughts on options to develop a 22ha area of land in Bethlehem which could include much needed housing, greenspace, sportsfields, and recognition of culturally, historically and ecologically important areas. We’ve received some valuable feedback which will all be considered in our decision-making and planning before we go any further.
We own a large site (approximately 22 hectares) in Bethlehem on the southern side of State Highway 2 located between the Te Paeroa roundabout and Wairoa River, known as Pōteriwhi (Parau Farms). We bought this land in 2000 for future use as sports fields, but Tauranga has changed since then. Given the extreme housing shortage in Tauranga, we’re now looking at broader options for the land which could include developing it for housing, greenspace, sportsfields and recognition of culturally, historically and ecologically important areas. Tucked in behind the Bethlehem Town Centre, the land is ideally placed for housing and close to shops, schools and other amenities, including public transport.
In November 2021 we asked for your feedback on a proposal to develop the land for housing. We received some valuable feedback and people raised some very valid questions, particularly around preserving green space and providing infrastructure.
Of the 159 submissions received, 30% were in support and 68% opposed the proposal. Bethlehem residents represented 40% of respondents, with the remainder distributed fairly evenly across Tauranga. Younger age groups, up to age 34, were most supportive of the proposal with those in the 55 to 64 age group being most opposed.
The land falls in the rohe of Ngāti Ranginui iwi including the hapū of Ngāti Kahu and Ngāti Hangarau who also reminded us of a wealth of information regarding the historical, cultural and ancestral significance of the area. The hapū are still working on further detail to that feedback which will provide essential guidance on future options.
No decision will be made on the proposal until the council has had an opportunity to consider all the feedback, including from mana whenua, and find answers to the questions raised by the community.