Airport plan fairly simple, mayor says

Gary Kircher
Gary Kircher
Waitaki Mayor Gary Kircher does not like the term "master plan" for the new plan proposed for Oamaru Airport.

But a master plan has been recommended for the council-owned asset.

Mr Kircher said that keeping the possibility of a return to commercial scheduled flights, having two current users looking to expand alongside other recreational groups - "and we've got other inquiries coming through" - necessitated a plan for the recently refreshed airport.

After Cr Bill Kingan called master plans "the `in' buzzwords" at the council during the council's assets committee meeting this month, Mr Kircher differentiated between the proposed plan for the airport and the ongoing Oamaru Harbour master plan process under way.

"It's a development plan," Mr Kircher said.

"It's a fairly simple thing. The master plan for the harbour area is that much more involved, because there's a whole lot of elements, including the area around it, how transport moves through it, how people move around it, and what the activities are going to be in it."

Council assets group manager Neil Jorgensen said the airport master plan would "formalise" what was happening at the airport, but in terms of the consultation it would be "a bit more watered down that what we're doing at the harbour".

The assets committee recommended council agree the first stage of a master plan for the airport begins with consultation with "key stakeholders" and approve a budget of up to $50,000 from the Oamaru Airport fund.

There was "quite a bit happening out there", Mr Kircher said, including expansion plans from Heliventures NZ and New Zealand Airline Academy, now catering to 20 students, but which could considerably increase its number of trainee pilots.

On February 5, the assets committee considered a public-excluded item on an Oamaru Airport lease and, although Mr Kircher would not offer details of the discussion, he confirmed it was with an existing lessee.

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