Urged to keep cap on flights

Consent for Nzone Skydive Queenstown to increase its number of flights should be declined, or the cap at 35 flights a day should be maintained if consent is granted, Jacks Point parties say.

Yesterday was the second day of an Environment Court hearing into the direct referral by Skydive Queenstown Ltd, trading as Nzone, for resource consent to operate a commercial parachute and associated transport operation at Remarkables Station. It involved submissions by Richard Brabant, of Auckland, representing the opposing Jacks Point Residents' Association and commercial interests which own land in the resort.

Noise effects and the effects on amenity by skydiving aircraft in the rural general zone and the proposed conditions of consent, if granted, were the main matters in dispute.

Mr Brabant told Judge Jon Jackson, with commissioners Russell Howie and John Mills, a children's playground was nearing completion.

While surrounding landowners gave their written approval to Nzone for the original skydiving consent granted in 1997, approval by Henley Downs Ltd was conditional on there being no more than 35 flights a day.

''Skydive is seeking a fresh consent for its operation, based on the existing airstrip,'' Mr Brabant said.

''Skydive asks that the constraint on the maximum number of flights at 35 be removed and I understand is also requesting that there be no limitation on the number of aircraft that can operate . . .

''Instead, Skydive proposes that a noise condition be included as a condition of consent and also offers a limitation on flights, which is based on a calculation by its noise consultant of how many flights could occur without breaching the proposed noise condition.''

Nzone's application was opposed because the company's aircraft were already noisier than would be permitted by the proposed noise condition.

The effect of aircraft noise on residences needed to be taken into account, as did potential adverse effects on the Jacks Point golf course, he said.

In response to Judge Jackson's questions to find a satisfactory outcome, Mr Brabant said the residents' association wanted the level of skydiving activity to remain as it was and, ideally, would like less noise.

Solicitor James Winchester, representing the Queenstown Lakes District Council, said if the proposal was approved, the council would call for noise restrictions among conditions.

The hearing continues this week.

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