SHA, airport hot topics

Climate change and the environment were high on the list of concerns addressed at a meet-the-candidates event at Lake Hawea yesterday, and the questions got quite personal.

A member of the audience of about 100 demanded to know of the Queenstown Lakes District Council and Wanaka Community Board candidates what they had done to reduce their carbon footprints.

Mayor Jim Boult brought up his involvement in the council's new three bins recycling system, mayoral candidate Nik Kiddle mentioned buying carbon offsets when flying, and mayoral candidate Al Angus said he had installed solar panels so the power companies no longer had "an extension lead into my wallet".

Deputy mayor Calum McLeod had planted 2500 trees, community board chairman Quentin Smith was involved with Climate Extinction, but council candidate Niamh Shaw won that round by declaring - while indicating her clothing - that she was "styled by Wastebusters".

There were few other light moments, and along with growth, infrastructure and sewerage, the two-hour session revisited the council decision to recommend a 400-lot special housing area on the outskirts of the town.

It was the first matter raised when the audience got its chance, resident John Langley lamenting the lack of "advocacy" by the community board then, and concerned it would happen again with the proposed development of Wanaka Airport.

Mr Smith responded the board was "often frustrated" by its inability to deal with some of the big issues.

"The airport and the SHA were items that were requested to come to the community board but haven't been brought to the board by the executive of the council."

On one side of the airport debate, board candidate Ed Taylor declared his support for development, while council candidate Lincoln Haworth described two commercial airports within 60km of each other "grossly irresponsible".

The council came under attack repeatedly for not listening to the Lake Hawea community, and all candidates promised they would, if elected.

Those present were Wanaka ward council candidates Barry Bruce, Mr Haworth, Mr MacLeod, Ms Shaw, Mr Smith and Cherilyn Walthew, and community board candidates Jude Battson, Chris Hadfield and Mr Taylor. Board candidates Lyal Cocks and Barbara East were not present.


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