A new multimillion-dollar commercial development incorporating existing motel accommodation with a new truck stop, service station, restaurant and drive-through off State Highway 1 is in the offing for Turangi.
But the proposal is already leading to concern among some locals and businesspeople worried that it will draw traffic away from the town centre and impact negatively on the riverside residential area.
The proposed development is on a 2.9ha block of land on Te Arahori St where the Parklands Motor Lodge is situated, off the main SH1 intersection to the Turangi town centre.
Entry to the service centre would be by way of a slip lane off SH1, with traffic exiting from the site of the existing motel exit on Te Arahori St about 40 metres from the highway
The project is dependent on the Rotorua-based developer gaining resource consents.
Parklands Motor Lodge owner Craig Morey, who has owned the motel complex for the past 19 years, confirmed this week that a sale contract had been drawn up with Holmes Group conditional upon resource consents being approved.
Following a meeting at the weekend, the Turangi-Tongariro Ratepayers Association has set up a subcommittee to act on behalf of concerned parties.
The prospective new owners intend to retain the 31-room motor lodge and undertake further expansion.
That would include a 24-hour eight pump service station and retail store with a quick service restaurant and drive through.
The plan also makes provision for 63 car parks with three coach/truck parking spaces, camper van and trailer parking and two loading zones.
Once operating, the proposed new facility is forecast to create between 55 to 60 new fulltime jobs in the town.
Holmes Group spokesman Ryan Holmes told the Taupo & Turangi Weekender that the site had a lot of great attributes.
“We see Turangi as a beautiful spot with lots of potential, especially around tourism with the Tongariro Crossing, walking and biking tracks, whitewater rafting and the skifields close by.”
He said the company was working with NZTA on options for upgrading the main intersection at the SH1 turn-off to the proposed complex.
Planning was in the early stages with consultants still working through various reports but the company was keen to let locals know what was envisaged.
A meeting was to be held last night in Turangi at Parklands Lodge with immediate neighbours to outline the proposed development and time-lines.
Mr Holmes said he was happy to set up meetings with other groups wanting information.
“Turangi is a small town and we want to let people know who we are, what we have done and what we are proposing to do.”
He says people they have spoken to already have been very positive. “We believe it’s got to be a good thing for the township.”
The company is planning to lodge resource consent applications in the next two months.
All going well it is hoped to make a start on the development in mid 2018.