Tauranga Mayor, Greg Brownless, has supported the proposal to build a supermarket at Welcome Bay on a council-owned reserve, “reluctantly.” Brownless was debating the merits of the proposal to site a supermarket on one of three reserves at Welcome Bay. After obtaining feedback from the community, he ended up voting in favour of the proposals. He said it was important that people got out and had their say. However, he also added that the decision gave him cause for concern. “How can the council facilitate the development of a supermarket, and what will the council be asked to do next to facilitate private enterprise,” Brownless said. “It is not the council’s business to be in business, it is up to private enterprise to achieve things,” he added. Deputy Mayor Kelvin Clout said that there was a pressing need for a supermarket at Welcome Bay and that it was contingent on the council to facilitate the process. With no suitable private land available, the council was needed to facilitate development of council-owned land.
Projected growth in the area and resulting traffic congestion meant Welcome Bay would benefit from a centrally located supermarket as well as from the resulting employment opportunities. Foodstuffs told Supermarket News exclusively, “we are interested in developing a supermarket in Welcome Bay, we are working with the council as they go through their public consultation process. We look forward to liaising with them further on a suitable opportunity to service the Welcome Bay community.” The Manager of City Development at Tauranga Council, Dean Williams, also commented that, "a supermarket provider has not been selected in terms of a potential development in Welcome Bay. The objective of the community engagement which will occur in the coming weeks, is to understand whether the Welcome Bay community support the use of Council-owned land for a potential supermarket development and whether there is an initial preference between the sites that have been identified as being feasible locations. Should the project progress, which will require further committee and Council meetings, any Council site that may become available will be subject to an open competition," the Tauranga spokeperson added.