Airport depends on QLDC ‘spatial plan’

The Queenstown Lakes District Council yesterday declined to reveal details of a ‘‘spatial plan’’ that could delay the public release of plans for Wanaka Airport.

The Queenstown Airport Corporation’s (QAC) master plan for the Wanaka Airport redevelopment was originally set to be released in September this year.

The QAC’s Wanaka Airport website currently refers to ‘‘late 2019’’.

Now, it is understood the QAC’s Wanaka Airport master plan will not be ready for public consultation until after the QLDC has completed its ‘‘spatial plan’’.

Asked yesterday for details of the spatial plan and when it would be ready, a council spokeswoman said: ‘‘We’re not currently in a position to provide any further details ... The scope and timelines have not yet been finalised and is dependent on what happens with the referendum.’’

The referendum is over the proposed imposition of a visitor levy, gathered by accommodation providers, and designed to have tourists contribute financially to infrastructure.

Voting papers are due to be delivered to households between May 14 and 19, and the result published on June 9.

The QLDC has recently completed, or is working on, or is reviewing, 17 plans related to growth in the district.

The only ‘‘spatial’’ plan it has acknowledged is one to be carried out in partnership with the new Ministry of Housing and Urban Development.

Wanaka Stakeholders Group convenor Michael Ross yesterday made further comment on the QAC’s $300million-$400million Wanaka Airport redevelopment plan.

‘‘The WSG fails to see how an investment of this size could be funded by a ‘‘handful’’ of services from about 2025. This does not make economic sense.

‘‘Our only possible assumption for such a significant investment is that restrictions in and around [Queenstown Airport] will ultimately be serviced by additional flights/visitors coming in through Wanaka to feed visitors through to their ultimate destination at Queenstown.’’

And, he asked: ‘‘could Wanaka surpass Queenstown as the main airport destination for the region?’’

The QLDC and the QAC declined to comment.

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