Airport objections sent to Govt

Christchurch Airport has just unveiled a ''new long-term proposal'' for a new airport in the...
PHOTO: ODT FILES
The group opposed to an international airport being built at Tarras has taken its argument to Wellington where it believes decisions on airports should be made.

Spokesman John Harris said yesterday emails had been sent to Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Transport Minister Phil Twyford and Green Party leader James Shaw.

"We would like this to be looked at as a national problem, not a parochial problem."

Christchurch International Airport Ltd is proposing an international airport on 750ha of farm land it has bought at Tarras.

But, Mr Harris believed it was the Government’s job to decide how many airports the country had and where they should be.

"Do we need three airports [Queenstown, Wanaka and Tarras] within a 50km radius?

"On the face of it, that doesn’t seem like a very good idea."

Mr Harris said Invercargill and Dunedin needed to be involved in the debate as interested local parties "but primarily I think we really have to rally opinion throughout the country".

Since a public meeting in Tarras on Wednesday night, Mr Harris had received a "tremendous number" of calls and emails from people concerned about the airport proposal.

"I was quite surprised to have people approach me directly from Christchurch looking at it as something that affects them as Christchurch ratepayers not knowing what the airport is doing with their money."

Christchurch ratepayers, via the Christchurch City Council’s holding company, are the major shareholders of the airport company.

Mr Harris said it was suggested to him his group should be having discussions with the Christchurch City Council, although no arrangements had yet been made.

All speakers at Wednesday’s meeting were opposed to the airport proposal.

Asked if there might be less vocal members of the community who supported the airport, Mr Harris said he suspected there might be some business people in Cromwell who were "delighted at the prospect".

"But nobody has put their head up and said so in public."

The negative sentiment does not appear to have had an effect on the airport company.

Communications manager Yvonne Densem said yesterday "not all the views we have had so far are negative, and many are open".

Company representatives would continue to speak to people "one on one".

"We completely respect and understand the views offered at the meeting and hope it has helped the community to see our faces and hear [airport executive] Michael Singleton dispel some of the rumours and inaccuracies circulating.

"We are at a very early stage of a very long project.

"It's important the people of Tarras have some time to digest the news of our land purchase."

Comments

I heard a chap on the radio stating that Tarras was subject to fog for weeks at a time. Is that correct?

I also figure that if Queenstown airport was closed, there could be up to 70 buses per day through the Kawarau gorge.

 

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