Airport opposes rezoning of land

Rezoning was opposed on safety grounds. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Rezoning was opposed on safety grounds. Photo: Stephen Jaquiery
Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) has opposed calls for land bordering the airport to be used as sports fields in case an aeroplane misses the runway and endangers users.

QAC made a submission to a hearing panel considering Queenstown Lakes District Council's proposed district plan (PDP) yesterday, objecting to an ''informal recreation zone'' mooted for the Lower Shotover Delta, near the end of the airport's runway.

In his evidence to the panel, resource management adviser John Kyle said rezoning the land from rural to informal recreation could ''encourage the intensification of recreational activities'' at the end of the runway, and would expose the land to high levels of aircraft noise.

''There is a residual risk associated with encouraging the intensification of recreational activities within this area in the unlikely event of an aircraft under or over-shoot at Queenstown Airport.''

Developers Remarkables Park Ltd and Queenstown Park Ltd opposed the airport's submission and called for the land to be zoned for ''active sport and recreation'', rather than informal recreation.

This would allow for more organised sport events, and for associated facilities to be built on the site.

In his evidence to the panel, Remarkables Park Ltd planning manager Timothy Williams said the site provides a ''significant opportunity to contribute to sports fields or similar activities in the future''.

QAC instead called for the land to continue to be zoned rural or for a new Shotover Delta sub-zone to be created to allow for a range of land use activities.

The Lower Shotover Delta is at present used for passive recreation purposes.

Several activities allowed in the proposed informal recreation zone were already permitted in the rural zone.

Panel chairman Denis Nugent questioned the timing of QAC's objections.

''Why is the zoning a problem now when it hasn't been since the rural zoning came in?''

QAC representatives told the panel issues arising from the proposed rezoning included public amenities, such as refuse areas, attracting more birds to the site, increasing the chance of them being hit by aircraft.

The corporation suggested consent should be required for certain amenities on the site.

However, commissioner Sarah Dawson said it seemed ''incredibly Draconian'' for public amenities, such as a bicycle stand, to need consent.

QAC also submitted that the removal of prohibited activity status for new ''activities sensitive to aircraft noise'' (ASAN) in the council's proposed open space zone could lead to a rise in ASAN in the outer control and air noise boundaries.

The airport recently finished a public consultation on its proposals to expand its noise boundaries into large residential areas and almost double the aircraft movements the present boundaries allow by 2045.

Submissions to the panel will continue today at the Heritage Hotel in Queenstown.

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