Opponents will continue airport fight

Michael Ross
Michael Ross
The Wanaka Stakeholders Group (WSG) is vowing to continue its fight to restrict growth of Wanaka Airport.

Chairman Michael Ross said yesterday the Queenstown Airport Corporation’s (QAC) preferred scenario of expanding Wanaka Airport and Queenstown Airport noise boundaries "absolutely hasn’t gone away".

He was commenting on the release of a report by consultant MartinJenkins this week that said because of Covid-19, it could be eight years before growth projections were back on track.

Mr Ross said the report did not "take us off course whatsoever.

"We’re almost more determined than ever to carry on."

WSG objects to jet aircraft using Wanaka Airport.

MartinJenkins examined four scenarios determined by the Queenstown Lakes District Council, ranging from a do-nothing approach to building a new airport on an unidentified greenfield site.

It suggested the QAC’s scenario would lead to 7385 aircraft movements and 970,643 passenger movements per year at Wanaka Airport by 2050.

The report predicted for the Upper Clutha increases in population and jobs, better connectivity with the rest of the country and improved access during natural disasters.

However, there would also be "some noise disturbance" for residents of Albert Town, Luggate and properties near the airport.

"Feedback suggests that stakeholders have major concerns about the impacts of noise under this scenario."

Their survey found 72% of residents in and around Wanaka were opposed to the scenario, but noted all those aged under 15 "feel entirely negatively about this scenario".

Those opposed were concerned about "unmanaged growth" overwhelming local infrastructure, and the cost of the development falling on ratepayers.

Those in favour were enthusiastic about easier access to flights, less road traffic between Wanaka and Queenstown, more jobs and better infrastructure.

Albert Town Community Association chairman Nathan Weathington said he was still reading the report and looking for clarification on the number of flights per day and their flight path.

"As is, we have to go with the assumption that the flight path is directly over Albert Town."

Queenstown’s Flight Plan 2050 member John Hilhorst, who is promoting the idea of replacing Queenstown Airport with a new airport, was also still reading the report yesterday.

However, "the argument Martin Jenkins have given in favour of a new international airport is significant", he said.

"It is useful in helping to shape the realisation that sometime in the future a new regional airport will be needed."

The new airport scenario was for a greenfield site within two hours’ drive of Queenstown.

"Once the new international airport opens in 2035, it would lead to the greatest level of growth and the greatest increase in income and employment," the report said.

The report did not present a preferred option and warned of "a high level of uncertainty regarding the scenarios".


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