Airport dominates discussion yet again

Another day, another candidates meeting and another opportunity for residents to voice their frustrations over Queenstown Airport.

Last night the fifth Queenstown Lakes District Council candidates meeting in 11 days was held at St Margaret's Church, organised by the Frankton Community Association.

Yet again the airport, its proposed plans, statement of intent and impact on growth and infrastructure, was the primary topic of conversation during the two-hour meeting, attended by about 50 residents.

The three mayoral candidates, along with eight of the 10 council candidates and Otago Regional Council candidate Richard Bowman, attended the penultimate candidates meeting.

One candidate, Glyn Lewers, was a familiar face for residents, given his role as the association's chairman.

On the airport's statement of intent, Mr Lewers said it was ''mangled, munted'' and ''in the trash bin''.

However, he was grilled by former councillor Gillian Macleod, who asked why ''nothing else ever happened'' after the Queenstown Stakeholders Group was formed last year to fight the airport's noise boundary expansion plans.

Mr Lewers said there had been many conversations with the council and airport corporation and the focus was on keeping an ''open dialogue''.

''We don't bandy ... around legal threats and start telling people what they can and can't do.

''We communicate to make sure both entities don't put the wagons around and don't talk to us.

''We've been working quite hard behind the scenes - we just don't make a big song and dance about it.''

The final district council candidates meeting is being hosted by the Wanaka Chamber of Commerce on Monday from 5pm at the Lake Wanaka Centre.

An Otago Regional Council candidates meeting is being held in Frankton's St John rooms on Sunday at 7pm.

tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

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