NZone's bid to increase its skydiving capacity by operating
more flights has been refused by the Environment Court,
leaving the company ''incredibly disappointed''.
In his decision, Judge Jon Jackson said overall the proposal
was likely to ''lead to a serious reduction'' in the
recreational amenities of NZone's immediate neighbours
compared with what is presently allowed for under the
company's 1997 consent.
Skydive Queenstown Ltd, trading as NZone, was New Zealand's
first professional tandem skydiving operation when it began
in 1990 and the application to replace its existing consent
sought permission to operate more than its consented 35
flights per day from the airstrip at Remarkables Station near
the Jacks Point residential development.
A statement from NZone said the company was ''incredibly
disappointed with the result of the recent Environment Court
hearing, with the court finding noise from the flightpath to
be intimidating and that the residents of Jacks Point had a
right to expect that there would be no incremental effects
beyond the original consent to operate that was granted in
The result of the hearing would not affect NZone's present
operation and no decision had been made as to whether NZone
would be appealing the court's decision, the statement said.
The skydive company's application to the Queenstown Lakes
District Council was publicly notified in May 2012 and
attracted 81 submissions.
Skydive Queenstown Ltd then applied to the council to have
the application referred direct to the Environment Court,
which the council consented to in July 2012.
In the final decision released earlier this month, it was
noted that a hearing was held in May 2013 but the court
received ''inadequate evidence'' about heights at which the
aircraft operated, so in December further evidence was sought
and the hearing resumed on May 5, 2014.
Judge Jackson's decision also noted the skydive company had
grown since its inception ''to become an important part of
Queenstown's appeal as an adventure destination''.