Aerodrome campaign ‘unfortunate’

Robin Dicey.
Robin Dicey
A campaign by Cromwell Community Board member Robin Dicey against expansion at the Cromwell Aerodrome has been called "scaremongering" by Central Otago Mayor Tim Cadogan.

Mr Dicey has this week launched the publicity campaign, protesting the Central Otago District Council’s (CODC) decision to allow the construction of up to 28 new hangars at the aerodrome, which is beside the Cromwell Racecourse.

The council’s waste and property infrastructure committee approved the move at its meeting in June and no public feedback about the decision was received after that, nor at public consultation held so far for the Cromwell "Eye to the Future" Masterplan, Mr Cadogan said.

It was "unfortunate"  Mr Dicey was now "going into a level of scaremongering" and "putting unnecessary fears into people", he said.

"I also find it ironic that Mr Dicey used to have a hangar himself at the Cromwell Aerodrome, but is now rallying against others who seek that."

Mr Dicey said the council had erred by not consulting board members or the community about the expansion.

The aerodrome is on Crown land vested in council as an aerodrome reserve under the Reserves Act, which means all aerodrome activity, including hangars and flights, can occur there as of right.

Mr Dicey accepted the council, not the CCB, had delegated authority over the aerodrome and "every legal right" to allow expansion there without public consultation.

But he said the council did have a legal obligation to consider the effect the expansion might have on Cromwell residents, and a moral obligation to consult more widely.

He said residents needed to know "whether the noise levels from a dramatic increase in the number of flights could affect their health and safety and their property prices", and said residents "may well decide that the airfield is too close to the town — which it essentially is" through the masterplan.

But Mr Cadogan said there was no intention to allow mass expansion to happen at the same time, and the hangars would probably be for private use. Any application for a commercial use would require a resource consent application.

Significant public consultation took place when the aerodrome’s status was confirmed in the council’s district plan, and anyone who bought property near the aerodrome since it was there would have been informed of it through a Land and Information Memorandum, he said.

• Mr Cadogan and waste and property infrastructure committee chairman Nigel McKinlay will be available to discuss the aerodrome issue with Cromwell residents at the Cromwell Service Centre from 4-6pm on August 13.

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