Airport to insulate 150 houses

The Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) will spend $2 million over the next two years insulating 150 Frankton homes affected by growing aircraft noise.

The corporation, after six years of planning and consultation, announced yesterday it would start offering ''noise mitigation packages''.

The airport will pay the full cost to completely insulate 10 homes closest to the runway in the ''inner sector'' most affected by aircraft noise.

Another 140 households in the ''mid sector'' will be offered 75% towards the cost of installing mechanical ventilation.

Chief executive Scott Paterson said the 10 houses set to be fully insulated were in the direct path of the runway.

''Acoustic installation includes double-glazing, it might include special or extra Gib board in rooms or ceilings, it may include additional insulation and it will include mechanical ventilation,'' he said.

''It's one or all of those items that are brought to bear. It's appropriate that we help our neighbours and we want to do that by offering noise mitigation.''

A supplier will be sourced by the end of June and be responsible for carrying out mitigation works under the airport's control.

The corporation will write to the 150 homeowners by the end of August, with work to start in September or October.

Noise-monitoring will be conducted in July and August and January and February, the peak winter and summer months of aircraft activity.

Monitoring will continue every three years afterwards.

Mr Paterson said the initiative was prompted by increased noise from continuing airport growth. While aircraft were not becoming noisier, more flights meant more noise.

A plan change which expands the noise boundaries of the airport to allow it to meet expected growth in passenger numbers and aircraft movements up to the year 2037 is awaiting ratification in the Environment Court.

But Mr Paterson said three interim court decisions gave the corporation enough confidence to start noise mitigation.

The first step was to advertise for three community representatives to join the new airport liaison committee.

Scott Freeman, of the Frankton Community Association, Gregory Miller, of the Kelvin Peninsula Community Association, and Steven McIsaac, of Jacks Point Residents' Association, were appointed.

The committee endorsed the noise management plan last week.

Mr Freeman is one of the 10 homeowners who will be fully assisted by the airport.

He said it was good to get certainty on the timetable for mitigation work.

''I've spoken to a few people and I think the biggest issue so far is about time frames, as to is it this year or 10 years' time. So having some reasonably good time frames for a number of properties is quite good.''

Mr Freeman said the corporation was being ''very proactive'' in dealing with aircraft noise and in non-technical terms so people could understand. QAC will inform 600 householders about the programme by mail.

The corporation has appointed a noise administrator to answer householders' questions and the airport website has information about the plan.

A public information session will be held in the St John rooms, Frankton, on March 12 from 5.30pm to 7.30pm.