Lakefront Revitalisation
Why are we doing this?
To create a destination that meets and enhances where land meets lake.  
A plan is emerging to develop spaces for recreation, 4-5 star tourism accommodation, cultural experiences and entertainment zones. This development will celebrate our culture and community – it will be uniquely Rotorua and distinctly different to any other lakefront in the world. The initial stage is to lay out the area and get prepared for future development within an environment that is interwoven with elements of natural landscapes, art and culture.  The plan includes removal of the Soundshell, enhanced landscaping, an interactive sculptural park, lake edge improvements including a boulevard style pathway, roading changes and upgraded public toilets. The plan also includes a building site/s where investors could establish restaurants, cafes, kiosks and ticketing offices.
​​​​​​​What is proposed?
The Rotorua Lakefront is a special place, with a rich history, that is enjoyed by our community and visitors to the city.
Developing the lakefront contributes to Council's Vision 2030 - The Rotorua Way and aims to:
○  Support a vibrant city with an easy lifestyle and offer diverse opportunities
○  Ensure it reflects the city and district's strong identity, Te Arawa connection and the community spirit of Rotorua
○  It focuses on being an enjoyable family-friendly destination for both locals and visitors
The development of the Rotorua Lakefront will bind the lake with the land, the past with the present and the physical with the unseen. It will pay tribute to our collective histories and honour the intrinsic beauty of our place – Rotorua-nui-a-Kahumatamomoe.  The lakefront development also provides a platform for connecting communities and welcoming manuhiri (visitors).
Central Area - This site marks the hub of the lakefront development. It will be the centre of the lakefront walkway and home to terraces and visually-striking tukutuku bridges. It will also be a major player in linking the lakefront with the city centre.
Eastern Area - This eastern end of the lakefront is being celebrated as a more contemplative space and development plans recognise this ambience. Pukeroa Oruawhata’s Wai Ariki Hot Springs and Spa is a neighbour at this end of the lake.
Western Area - The new boardwalk will begin its journey from this western end of the lakefront stretching to the eastern end, and on completion it will be 600m long. There will be a focus on action at this end of the lakefront with facilities for the likes of waka ama, boating, water sports, cycling and tour-buses.
New Playground
In early 2019 more than 100 tamariki participated in creative workshops and shared their ideas about a new playground for the lakefront with designers from Isthmus Group, the studio designing the proposed new playground. Many of these ideas were similar and clearly showed what tamariki want in a playground. These ideas have been included in the lakefront designs. 
Most of the existing playground will be kept and expanded on, making the new playground three times bigger and suitable for all ages and abilities. It has been designed with safety in mind and will be separated from pathways and roads. There will be two large smooth surface loops for bikes, scooters and skateboards, dual flying foxes, a basketball half court, a nest swing, as well as spaces to sit, relax, and watch the action.
Caleb Nicholls (12 years old)
“It was really cool to create our ideas for the new playground and show them to the designers. I can’t wait to check out the new playground and see our ideas in real life."

This is an artist’s impression of the new playground. This image focuses on the playground area of the lakefront only. To the left of this area is where the new ticketing offices and food and beverage outlets will be located and behind the playground remains the Village Green. ​​​​​​​

Lake Ecology
An important part of the lakefront development includes looking after the lake’s aquatic and wetland plants, fish, birds, kākahi (freshwater mussels) and kōura (freshwater crayfish).
Lake Rotorua is a well-known habitat for kōura but near the lakefront development site, the kōura habitat is limited due to excess silt and debris and a lack of suitable cover (i.e, stones and rocks). 
During construction, excess silt and debris will be removed and local ecologists Wildlands, kōura scientist Dr Ian Kusabs, William Anaru (coordinator working to eradicate catfish from our lakes) and the Te Arawa Lakes Trust, will work with the designers to create better habitat for kōura. New stones and rocks will be introduced, providing protection for baby koura who are vulnerable to catfish. The boardwalk will also provide essential shade for fish and kōura to hide away from predators. Water will be able to pass underneath the boardwalk and any build-up of lake weed will be removed.

Willie Shaw, Principal Ecologist, Director, Wildland Consultants Ltd 
“Provision of koura habitat as an integral part of the structure is an exciting opportunity to provide long-term habitat in this currently degraded part of the lake margin.”
Dr Ian Kusabs, Scientist/Principal, Ian Kusabs and Associates Ltd
“Kōura are highly valued by Māori and are considered a taonga species by Te Arawa. They are also an indicator of ecosystem health because they need well oxygenated water and substrate free of silt. With the improvement in Lake Rotorua’s water quality in recent years, kōura have returned to the lakefront (mainly where rocks and stones are present). The development project provides us with a fantastic opportunity to enhance the kōura population and value of other fisheries in the area.”
Council is working with developers to ensure all designs meet, and in some cases exceed, accessibility standards. The number of mobility parking spaces at the lakefront will double and mobility parks will be located close to the water’s edge and near the public toilets. New long vehicle parks will be included for larger mobility vans. Ramps will ensure the lake edge and boardwalk are accessible for all. Seating with backrests and armrests will be constructed.  A brand new, fully equipped accessible toilet, suitable for both children and adults will be installed.
Public Toilets 
There will be two main public toilet blocks at the lakefront and toilets available in the new food outlets. 
The existing toilet block has been refurbished and a new toilet block will be built on Tutanekai Street. These toilets are located on either side of the playground and next to car parks. The new public toilet block will also cater for larger tour buses and will include a fully equipped accessible toilet, the only one of its kind in the region.  
Memorial Drive
Working with the RSA, Memorial Drive will be enhanced to create more open space. The memorial gateway will remain and existing plaques will be moved closer to the lakefront, allowing more space for reflection. This space will provide better support for events on the Village Green such as markets and concerts.  
Car Parking
The number of general carparks at the lakefront will remain the same as now (171) with double the number of mobility parks, plus designated motorcycle parking, 4 extra boat trailer parks near the yacht club and 3 extra bus parks. General parks will be in what is now Memorial Drive but will become parking (Council is working with the RSA to relocate the memorial plaques to create a designated area closer to the lake) and parking off Tutanekai St (opposite Terrace Kitchen) will be reconfigured and increased. Toilet blocks (one new and the existing one off Memorial Drive) will be between the carparking and play areas so close to both.
​​​​​​​Council has allocated $20 million to the Rotorua Lakefront development and has received matching funds from Central Government’s Provincial Growth Fund to enable the project to be completed over the next three years.
​​​​​​​How much Government funding has been announced?
In 2018 the Government announced it will give $19.9 million from the Provincial Growth for the lakefront development.
When will work on the project start?
The design work undertaken during development of the business case phase means we can start almost immediately. We’ve already sought expressions of interests from companies wanting to tender for this project.  We hope to complete the tender process and appoint a contractor in the coming months with physical works able to start in 2019.
How long will it take to complete?
The project is being carried out in stages, with the first stage expected to be finished in late 2019. We hope to have most capital works completed in three to four years.
What is involved?
The redevelopment of the Rotorua Lakefront opens significant opportunities for the city, as well as benefits for tourism nationally, and will spark millions of dollars of investment and create new jobs.  Several developments are planned for the lakefront, including creating amenities and spaces that celebrate Rotorua’s unique environment and culture.
How was the project selected?
The opportunity to kick-start this project sooner than anticipated has arisen through the development of Central Government’s Provincial Growth Fund. With support from mana whenua, we have seized the opportunity to apply for the fund by selecting projects that are ready to be worked on and match the pūtea (funding) criteria.  The fund aims to lift productivity potential in the provinces, create jobs and enhance community benefits.
What does the lakefront development specifically include?
The development of Rotorua’s Lakefront is split over five stages. Some of the earlier work will include the removal of the vacant Soundshell, and Scout Den, which will proceed alongside stage one of the Lakefront development.  The development of Rotorua’s Lakefront is split over five stages. Some of the earlier work will include the removal of the vacant Soundshell, and Scout Den, which will proceed alongside stage one of the Lakefront development.  The development also includes a new Rotorua-unique play space, and removal of the road from Memorial Drive through to Government Gardens. This will be transformed into a natural public space with access on to the boardwalk. 
Who is involved?
The project is a collaborative effort. We are working with the Lakefront Development Advisory Committee, which also involves iwi representatives.  As we progress, we will be working with wider stakeholders to consider how they would like to be involved and opportunities for them.
Hasn’t this project already received funding?
Yes, the Lakefront development was one of two projects that received more than $811,000 of funding in June 2018 to allow Council to complete the designs and final business cases.  These business cases were crucial in securing this further PGF funding.
Does the public get the chance to have their say on the project?
This project was part of the Long-Term Plan consultation process which attracted hundreds of submissions. As work progresses, Council will continue to keep our partners, stakeholders and the wider community informed in a variety of ways including through our e-pānui.
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