Airport research expected this month

IMAGE: MAT PATCHETT / ODT
IMAGE: MAT PATCHETT / ODT
More information about the proposed Tarras airport should be available this month, as lobby group Sustainable Tarras keeps pressure on the developer to release more research.

Christchurch International Airport project director Michael Singleton said this week he anticipated being able to release flight paths and airspace issue research by the end of this month.

The information had been scheduled for release last month but the research programme was disrupted by Covid-19.

Sustainable Tarras chairman Chris Goddard confirmed a residents’ survey on airport issues was also under way again, after postal delays caused by the pandemic.

‘‘The results should be back within two weeks,’’ Mr Goddard said.

Sustainable Tarras is opposed to the Tarras airport development.

Members have previously expressed concerns about the airport company’s secret land purchases at Tarras, and complained the group does not have enough information about the project.

Christchurch International Airport Ltd’s (CIAL) majority shareholder is a Christchurch City Council holding company, and the Government is a minority shareholder.

Mr Goddard said the group had only this week found a copy of a letter by State Owned Enterprises Minister Dr David Clark to CIAL chairwoman Catherine Drayton, setting out the Government’s expectations of CIAL in relation to the Tarras investment project.

The undated letter was released by the Treasury on August 31, but CIAL communications manager Yvonne Densem said this week it was not new, had been received by CIAL on December 18 and was reflected in CIAL’s approved 2021-22 statement of intent.

Dr Clark’s letter acknowledges CIAL bought land at Tarras with the intention of establishing an international airport.

‘‘We expect CIAL to keep its shareholders fully informed, so that we can clearly understand CIAL’s plans, including the next steps it intends to take at each stage of this proposal, and the likely timetable for those steps.

‘‘We expect CIAL to not only make financially prudent decisions with regard to this significant proposal, but also throughout the development of the proposal ... In developing the proposal, we expect CIAL to engage and work closely with affected communities and stakeholders, treating them with respect and understanding and listening to and carefully considering the issues that they raise,’’ Dr Clark said.

Mr Goddard said the letter showed the minister had gone to ‘‘great pains’’ to point out his expectations regarding Tarras.

This was a good acknowledgement of the impact the airport proposal was having on Tarras and of the Government’s expectation that CIAL engage with the community, Mr Goddard said.

However, he accepted it was reasonable that CIAL could not complete its work last month.

Mr Singleton said engagement had been happening since July last year and was continuing.

‘‘We’ve had dozens of face-to-face meetings and phone calls with individuals and groups, and hosted two community crop-in days at the Tarras hall. We’ve launched a project website, send regular newsletters and regularly respond to requests for information.’’ he said.

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