TCC2 blog

Tauranga City Council partners with the private sector to deliver a vibrant city centre

07 October 2018, by Emma Barker

I recently sat down with Garry Poole, former Chief Executive and Jaine Lovell-Gadd, General Manager - City Transformation from Tauranga City Council  to discuss their journey, challenges and learnings as part of the team behind the vision to revitalise Tauranga’s central city. 

 Garry Poole & Jaine Lovell-Gadd

Garry Poole & Jaine Lovell-Gadd 


Where did it all begin?

Garry Poole, former CE

"It became a great opportunity for the Tauranga region when it was decided to turn the need for a new Council Civic Administration Building into a wider programme to revitalise our central city (now known as the Heart of the City Programme)."


What is the Heart of the City Programme?

Jaine, GM City Transformation

"The purpose of the Heart of the City Programme is to work in partnership to create a vibrant, safe and successful city centre.

We want more people to live, work, learn and play in our city centre. This is in line with the City Centre Strategy, which seeks to establish the Tauranga city centre as the commercial, civic and cultural heart of the sub region.

The Heart of the City Programme is made up of a series of projects including a new Civic Administration Building, a Library and a Hotel (built on Council land by a private sector partner).

We also have $23.65M in our long-term plan to activate our streets. We did a Spatial Framework and now we are proactively looking at all the different streets in the center – doing some “pedestrianisation” of these street or slowing them down or adding in linear parks. It’s a huge and great commitment for the City in the center.

The Programme is about partnering with the private sector and showing them that now is the time to invest in Tauranga central city.  There’s currently more than $250M coming into the Tauranga central city from the private sector – office buildings, retail buildings, boutique hotels .

It’s about the Council giving confidence to both the community and the business sector that we are serious about the central city and we are putting our energy into the city and putting our money where our mouth is."


What were the key challenges?

Garry Poole, former CE

"For us at Council, the biggest challenge was that the programme needed to straddle the world between Local Government and the private sector/commercial world.

Having David and the TwentyTwo team on-board with us made a huge difference. Having an external set of eyes that have both the expertise and experience is very helpful to a Chief Executive, and certainly adds to your capability in terms of managing the risk and delivering the project."


How has having property experts on-board added value to the Council team?

 Jaine, GM City Transformation

"TwentyTwo brought commercial discipline – ensuring we had a very robust procurement approach and in particular, helping us to manage that process so that we attracted private sector interest.

Also ensuring we were able to extract value from every decision and move we made. David would always say to myself and my team, “how can we extract value from the things that you’ve got or what you’re trying to deliver". It has been this piece of David’s input that I have really valued throughout this journey.

David has a great understanding of both our world and the commercial world and it has really felt like he has worked alongside us all the way."

Garry Poole , former CE

"I think in handling some of the politics and the desire of the elected members to get overly involved David has gone above and beyond.

Having an external voice and David’s experience gave us the ability to approach elected members and hold discussions on their position. I think the experience that David has, gives him the context and creditability to do this successfully.

David has guided the project through unchartered waters and the team have challenges still to deliver on. He has showed in my view incredible, resilience, calm and professionalism in the face of some unusual and difficult circumstances.

All of our team look on David as part of our team. While he is an independent professional, he has empathy with our team and ownership of our objectives and of the project. That ability to establish ownership and empathy is really important and I was highly impressed with his skills here."


Progress to date?

Jaine, GM City Transformation

"A big milestone was the appointment of Willis Bond as our Development Partner for the programme.

Currently we have an administration building strategy, Library negotiation strategy and a hotel negotiation strategy all approved by Council.

There’s a great sense of the Council working together with the private sector at the moment. There’s a great energy.

When the Development Partner Agreement was signed with Willis Bond, the Library was an aspiration part of the project (it didn’t have any money). However as at September 2018 we have approval for a $35Million Library development.

We have the opportunity now to push this part of the development ahead of the Civic Administration Building and we may even have a spade in the ground for October 2019 (some might say I’m an optimist). It would be a great signal to the community that we really value community facilities too."



David Lambie - TwentyTwo Practice Lead: Advisory & Assurance & Director

"The Tauranga City Council, Heart of the City Programme continues to head in the right direction.  Working closely with Willis Bond, Council has now entered a detail phase and is exploring the best ways of extracting value and delivering Councils objectives. We look forward to providing more updates on this exciting project in the very near future!"





About the author

Crafter. Creator. Online shopaholic. Mum of three. Lover of wine and travel.

Emma joined the TwentyTwo team in 2017 and leads our marketing and communications. Her marketing skills drive our digital presence and brand strategy. Emma has over ten years’ experience working with growing New Zealand-owned organisations, supporting their advance with marketing know-how.

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