New public hospital in Tauranga to ease pressure on health services

A public hospital on reserve land is being considered for Tauranga to alleviate pressures on health services in the area.

Tauranga Racecourse in Greerton is under consideration for a new hospital building.

It remained to be decided whether the new hospital would be an additional hospital for the town or replace the existing Tauranga Hospital on Cameron Rd.

The existing hospital would remain in the medium term, although Health New Zealand (formerly Bay of Plenty District Health Board) said it was in discussions to expand or modify this existing site due to seismic conditions and the need to reduce pressure on the health services.

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The plan for the new hospital is one of three shortlisted options for the 85-hectare Tauranga Racecourse Reserve, which Tauranga City Council Commission Chair Anne Tolley presented to residents on July 26.

The use of the racetrack land for high-density housing was taken off the table by the commissioners earlier this year.

The construction of a new hospital on the grounds would mean that the golf course could remain for the time being, while the equestrian facilities would be moved.

The first option includes a site for a public hospital, parks, sports fields and a golf course.  Image: Tauranga City Council

PROVIDED/Material

The first option includes a site for a public hospital, parks, sports fields and a golf course. Image: Tauranga City Council

This option provides the future opportunity to consider using the current hospital campus on Cameron Road for housing.

A new health district would provide community health and wellness services, as well as parks, sports fields, golf and connections to the Kopurererua Valley.

The second option would be to create a central park on the land – with a large green park, sports fields, community areas, a golf course and links to the Kopurererua valley. With this option, the golf course would remain, and the racetrack and equestrian facilities would be moved.

Second option: a central park with sports fields, community spaces and a golf course.  Image: Tauranga City Council

PROVIDED/Material

Second option: a central park with sports fields, community spaces and a golf course. Image: Tauranga City Council

The third option is an improved version of the status quo with the racetrack, golf, equestrian sports, sports fields and connections to the Kopurererua valley.

If the health zone option is not approved for the site, the second option will proceed.

Third option: an improved status quo in which the racetrack and other facilities remain.  Image: Tauranga City Council

PROVIDED/Material

Third option: an improved status quo in which the racetrack and other facilities remain. Image: Tauranga City Council

Tolley said commissioners will continue to look at other opportunities in the city for high-density housing.

“The community has made it clear that there is no appetite for the use of this land for housing. The Council and Kāinga Ora, alongside iwi and other partners, will continue to explore other land for housing options in our city.

“The main feedback that has come to us is to keep our green spaces green and to ensure that we think about the value of open spaces for generations to come. This central location will be important for a future green space. As the community told us, once it’s gone, we can’t get it back,” she said.

Health New Zealand (formerly the Bay of Plenty District Health Board) wanted to use reserve land as a site for potential health services to relieve pressure on current services.

Pete Chandler, general manager of Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty, said the area hospital needed to be future proof.

PROVIDED

Pete Chandler, general manager of Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty, said the area hospital needed to be future proof.

Pete Chandler, chief executive of Hauora a Toi Bay of Plenty, said the area’s growing population and significant earthquake issues on the hospital’s current campus meant that current healthcare facilities needed to be ‘scalable’ .

“This may require expanding our current services. Identifying a new public hospital location and providing better transport access to serve the growing Tauranga and Western Bay region would ensure that planning for the future of the health system is not limited to the current site,” he said.

Chandler said siting a new public hospital on reservation land could also open up the hospital’s current campus site to medium-to-high density housing in the long term.

Tauranga residents can bid on all three options from Wednesday, July 27 until 5 p.m., Monday, August 29, 2022.

A decision on future land use on the reserve is expected in December.

Greerton Maarawaewae’s study of options for the future of the land was launched in October 2021 to “identify opportunities to support wellbeing as the city continues to grow”.

The Tauranga Racecourse is intended for the new hospital building.

Provided

The Tauranga Racecourse is intended for the new hospital building.

New Zealand Thoroughbred Racing (NZTR) met with Racing Rotorua and Racing Tauranga and encouraged them to work together on what the future of racing will be for the Bay of Plenty region.

While acknowledging that the Bay of Plenty was a center of population growth, NZTR believed that Thoroughbred racing would be better supported if there was only one racing venue in the Bay of Plenty .

A working group, led by the NZTR, has been set up to identify potential sites for a sub-regional facility.

For more information on the Greerton Maarawaewae study and to make a submission, visit http://www.tauranga.govt.nz/greertonmaarawaewae

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