Airport still ‘talking to people in the community’

Associate Tourism Minister Paula Bennett today announced funding for a long-awaited toilet stop...
Photo: ODT File
Christchurch Airport executives say they are still gathering information and feedback and no formal planning has started for the proposed international airport in Tarras.

Manager communications Yvonne Densem said "that may in future lead to a more formal planning process, but for now it’s about talking to people in the community".

In July, Christchurch International Airport announced it had spent $45 million buying up 750ha of Tarras farmland with the intention of building a 2.2km runway and jet-capable airport.

At a public meeting soon after, Christchurch airport executive Michael Singleton and Ms Densem told a packed Tarras community hall consultation with residents would begin.

On Sunday at a meeting at the Tarras community hall organised by Waitaki MP Jacqui Dean, some residents who lived closest to the proposed airport site said they still had not
been contacted by Christchurch airport executives.

Yesterday, Ms Densem confirmed the company remained in the discussion stage.

It had not hired lawyers or planners, and reports of drones flying above or near the airport site recently were not connected with the airport project, she said.

Ms Densem said Mr Singleton continued to travel regularly to Central Otago to have meetings with members of the Tarras and Central Otago community, as well as with iwi and other stakeholders.

"These conversations are taking the form and in the places many people have indicated they want, so they feel comfortable to share their views and ask their questions face-to-face.

"Working this way means we are gathering a better understanding of the aspects of our concept which interest people, both negatively and positively.

"These meetings are of real value and likely to continue for some time yet.

"We also intend to reflect back what we have heard to the people we speak to," Ms Densem said.

kerrie.waterworth@odt.co.nz

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