Porter says no reason not to agree

Queenstown developer Alastair Porter says there was no reason why his company could not have reached an agreement with neighbour Queenstown Airport over the location of a new air park, but the agreement would have been a compromise.

The co-director of Remarkables Park Ltd was cross-examined in the Environment Court on the first day yesterday of the hearing about the notice of requirement lodged by the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) to alter the existing aerodrome designation.

The notice involves the airport's proposal ''of national significance'' to move the precinct for fixed-wing aircraft, helicopters and corporate jets from its existing site southwest of the runway to a larger southeast greenfield site of 19ha, designated ''Lot 6''.

The lot is a portion of the 150ha owned and being developed into a town centre by Remarkables Park, which maintains the airport does not need the land and wants the notice of requirement cancelled by the court.

Judge Jane Borthwick and commissioners David Bunting and Ross Dunlop are hearing evidence this week on whether QAC consulted with Remarkables Park over the acquisition of Lot 6.

Judge Borthwick and commissioners are also presiding over the Environment Court hearing about land zoning on the Frankton Flats.

Agreements over land swaps between the two parties were discussed yesterday.

Remarkables Park counsel Royden Somerville, of Dunedin, told the court QAC did not assess its own non-designated land for some, or all aviation park services, before looking at private land and going through the notice of requirement process.

Land to the north of the runway was acquired for airport purposes, Dr Somerville said.

QAC ''ignored'' its contractural commitments to Remarkables Park in its notice documents.

Remarkables Park expected Lot 6 to be a ''buffer zone'' between the airport and activities in the park which would be sensitive to aircraft noise.

The company set aside the 19ha for recreational pursuits, such as golf, or agricultural use.

If the court declines to cancel the notice, Dr Somerville asked for an adjournment so the parties could mediate an outcome.

QAC counsel Matthew Casey, of Auckland, drew Mr Porter's attention to a clause in a crosswind runway relocation deal which provided for the future variation of the airport layout to be agreed by all parties.

Mr Porter said Remarkables Park always acted in good faith and approached QAC on every occasion.

''In every other incident since 1997 we have managed to find a negotiated agreement and we haven't achieved an agreement here,'' Mr Porter told the court.

Frankton residents, particularly those living in Douglas St near the existing precinct, welcomed the move at an information evening about aircraft noise mitigation packages held by airport managers last week.

The hearing in Queenstown, with Air New Zealand and the Queenstown Lakes District Council also represented, is scheduled to continue this week.