Opposition to floatplane venture grows

A Cessna 208 Supervan 900 Amphibian. PHOTO: SKYQUESTINTERNATIONAL.COM
A Cessna 208 Supervan 900 Amphibian. PHOTO: SKYQUESTINTERNATIONAL.COM
Opposition to a controversial floatplane bid is taking off, as concerns are raised around noise pollution and its “cavalier” attitude to public safety.

Last month Queenstowner James Gott refloated his plan to operate a floatplane business on Lake Wakatipu, filing a resource consent application almost a year after his first attempt sparked strong opposition.

That opposition doesn’t appear to have eased up.

Bobs Cove resident Sue Farry, who’s lived in the area for 46 years, says noise pollution is a major concern.

“Because Bobs Cove has a narrow valley with a natural amphitheatre, both road traffic and aircraft noise are very much accentuated.

“Already the area is subjected to the noise of the many Milford flights, both fixed wing and helicopters as well as big jets coming into Queenstown.”

Gott wants to run two Cessna 208 Supervan 900 floatplanes, each with a maximum of five flights from Queenstown Airport per day, between 8am and 8pm.

The planes will “perform touch and goes in a direction that is parallel to the shoreline and not within 500m of the shore of Lake Wakatipu”, according to the latest application.

Closeburn resident Doug Bailey says the proposal is “opportunistic”.

“Frankly it’s as cavalier about the impacts on the community as it is about public safety,” he says.

As well as noise pollution, he’s concerned about the possibility of the planes landing “anywhere on the lake at the whim of the pilot”.

“People of this town have a right to know, given the public concern, how they’ll ensure the safety of other users of the lake. Council would be negligent if it doesn’t ask for a safety plan.”

He says if the application makes it through vetting, it should be publicly notified.

Bailey says many people are likely to submit against it.

Gott didn’t respond to a request for comment by deadline.

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