‘New approach’ questioned

Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett today announced funding for a long-awaited toilet stop...
Photo: ODT File
Tarras residents have questioned how productive conversations about Christchurch International Airport’s proposed Central Otago airport can be without detailed plans.

They also suggest those conversations should be taking place at a national level.

Yesterday, airport communications manager Yvonne Densem circulated electronically "The start of a conversation" newsletter to people who had signed up to a database to hear about progress on the project.

In the newsletter, project director Michael Singleton said Christchurch Airport had adopted a "new approach" to the Tarras airport project.

"Normally, companies proceed with detailed design, planning and process work before unveiling a fully formed proposal.

"We’ve worked with communities for the past 80 years and that experience tells us it’s better to talk to the community before any formal plans are created."

Tarras residents’ spokesman Chris Goddard said it was an "unusual gamble from the leadership team of a Crown entity to spend $46million without any idea around the plan".

He said the Tarras community remained "very keen" to see the draft plans for the Tarras airport as they would be "a simple way of addressing rumours and replacing speculation with facts".

Decisions about tourism’s future should be a national conversation and "not one between Christchurch Airport and the Tarras community", he said.

Ms Densem

said the airport intended to send out an update every one to two months with more information as the project progressed.

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