Queenstown Airport strategy rejected again

Queenstown Airport Corporation's statement of intent has been rebuffed again.

Earlier story:

As it did at its meeting on June 27, the Queenstown District Council today voted to reject the company's modified statement of its strategic direction for the next three years.

The meeting was the latest instalment in a year-long community debate about the company's strategy for accommodating forecast passenger growth at Queenstown and Wanaka airports.

Councillors' deliberations before a packed public gallery revealed a clear split in their views on the issue, with only Mayor Jim Boult and three councillors wanting to accept the document.

The company anticipates passenger numbers at Queenstown Airport to exceed those allowed for by existing air noise boundaries within the next few years.

To accommodate that growth, it is planning a dual airport arrangement that includes a $400 million development of Wanaka Airport over 25 years.

Today's deliberations followed an extended public forum at which 18 speakers urged councillors to reject the statement of intent on the grounds it did not reflect the community's views.

Councillors did vote unanimously to support a restatement of Mr Boult's undertaking at the council's August 8 meeting that changes to Queenstown Airport's noise boundaries or the development of commercial services at Wanaka Airport would not be accepted until economic and social assessments and a sustainability review were completed.

Mr Boult asked QAC chief executive Colin Keel to make further modifications to the statement of intent reflecting the concerns of councillors in time for the council's full meeting on October 10.

The votes follow a statement on Friday by the Wanaka Stakeholders Group putting the council "on notice'' about what the group considered to be the "unlawfulness and unreasonableness'' of its decisions to date on Wanaka Airport.

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