Chamber undecided on airport stance

Bridget Legnavsky
Bridget Legnavsky
The Wanaka Chamber of Commerce is neither for nor against development of Wanaka Airport for commercial traffic.

Chamber chairwoman Bridget Legnavsky was asked to clarify the chamber’s position this week in the wake of social media comment suggesting the chamber favoured the Queenstown Airport Corporation’s plans to develop Wanaka Airport for commercial traffic.

‘‘We’re really not ready to take a stance on the airport because we don’t really understand what all of our members want, and I don’t think they do, to be perfectly honest,’’ Ms Legnavsky said.

She hoped the social and economic assessments being done for the Queenstown Lakes District Council by consultant MartinJenkins would provide the chamber with ‘‘a better steer from our business community on which solution we should advocate for’’.

However, she was ‘‘not entirely confident’’ that would happen.

‘‘I don’t know how easily [the chamber’s] going to come to a consensus.

‘‘In the meantime we will sit neutral and do our best ... to bring good information to our membership, ensuring they get their voice heard and respected.

‘‘Our stance right now is ... everyone needs to be listened to fairly and that’s about where we are at.’’

Ms Legnavsky, who manages the Cardrona Ski Resort and Treble Cone Skifields for the Wayfare Group said it was ‘‘really important’’ for her to understand the mandate she had from the chamber.

‘‘So I’m really careful to make sure that I’m listening to the membership.

‘‘When it comes to my role at Cardrona and Treble Cone, obviously I will have my own personal opinions and yeah, we want to develop, we want to grow [the Soho Basin] and in order to do that we need to see more consistent visitors.’’

Because of the coronavirus and other world events, tourism was ‘‘not in a great space’’, she said.

‘‘I’m not really sure how that’s going to affect the ski industry but the position I take from a business perspective is quite different to the position on the chamber.’’

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