Airport company to hold sessions

Christchurch International Airport is holding drop-in sessions in Tarras next week to outline its next steps in its proposed Central Otago international airport development.

Communications manager Yvonne Densem said the drop-sessions were part of the company’s commitment to ongoing engagement with communities, mana whenua and other stakeholders.

"We will continue to engage with the community during 2021 and beyond, but the two days will show the local community the feedback we have heard so far."

Christchurch International Airport surprised the small rural Central Otago settlement in July last year when it announced it had bought $45million of farmland in the area in the hope of building a jet-capable runway.

The drop-in sessions at the Tarras Community Hall between noon and 8pm next Wednesday and noon and 7pm on Thursday would "give people another chance to meet us, add to the feedback, ask questions and understand the project’s next steps", Ms Densem said.

Sustainable Tarras member Chris Goddard said the group, representing residents opposed to the airport development, "fully supports authentic engagement with the community".

"We welcome the project team sharing the current thinking about flight plans, numbers of flights, proposed destinations and the economics in a post-Covid and low-carbon New Zealand," he said.

Yesterday, the group wrote to project director Michael Singleton, requesting a short weekend session be added.

Chairwoman Marilyn Duxson said attending the two weekday sessions would be difficult for families who worked on farms,in horticulture or viticulture or in town, as well as parents who had to pick up their children to support their extra curricular activities and homework.

Anyone coming from Lowburn, Wanaka, Luggate, Queensberry and Lindis would find it difficult to drive to Tarras before 7pm and attend after their day’s work, she said.

Ms Densem said the company would extend the Wednesday session to finish at 8pm instead of 7pm.

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