Public group calls for more guidance about airport plan

Wanaka Airport. Photo: Mark Price
Wanaka Airport. Photo: Mark Price
Has the Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC) provided enough information on the Queenstown Airport Corporation's (QAC) proposed expansion of Wanaka Airport?

That was the question asked by the Wanaka Stakeholders Group in a social media poll last week.

The result?

An overwhelming ''no''.

Ninety-five percent of the 537 respondents felt they had not received enough information from the council about the QAC's masterplan that could lead to Wanaka Airport being used to cater for growth that cannot be handled at Queenstown Airport.

The poll followed an appearance by the group's convener, Michael Ross, at the public forum of a council meeting late last month, when he said there had been ''no substantive community consultation by council on this major change of use of the Wanaka Airport'' and called on the council to take a more active role in doing just that.

Mr Ross said the poll results backed up its claim there was ''insufficient information'' about the development and that people wanted to know more.

The QAC masterplan is due to go out for public consultation next September, but Mr Ross said the council should not wait until then to discuss the expansion with the community.

''We believe the council should be actively engaging with the residents of the Upper Clutha to provide them with that information and to listen to what the community has to say.''

QLDC spokeswoman Rebecca Pitts said the masterplan process was still in the early stages and the council was ''comfortable that an appropriate level of community engagement will occur next year''.

Options for good access to and from the airport would also be considered as part of the Wanaka town centre masterplan process, which was already under way, she said.

A Wanaka Airport spokesperson said results from a survey conducted between May and July with stakeholders and the community about the future of the airport would be released soon, while there would also be several other opportunities for community engagement over the next year.

''Once we release the draft plan towards the end of next year, we will also undertake a comprehensive engagement programme on the draft plan to ensure all members of our community have the information they need to participate in the process and understand the opportunities for the future,'' the spokesperson said.

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