QAC gains rights in Wanaka Airport push

The Queenstown Airport Corporation has managed Wanaka Airport since 2009. Photo: ODT files
The Queenstown Airport Corporation has managed Wanaka Airport since 2009. Photo: ODT files
The Queenstown Airport Corporation has been granted requiring authority status for Wanaka Airport, giving it strong legislative powers to operate and develop the airport.

Queenstown Airport Corporation's general manager property and planning, Rachel Tregidga, said today the approval by the Ministry for the Environment "was routine for infrastructure providers, including airport operators''.

"It enables them to operate efficiently and utilise the existing designation provisions of the Resource Management Act.''

The approval recognised QAC as being responsible for the operation, maintenance and development of Wanaka Airport.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council (QLDC), which is the majority owner of the QAC, was the previous requiring authority.

The QAC has managed Wanaka Airport since 2009. 


Last year, the council granted the QAC a 100-year lease of Wanaka Airport.

The approval takes effect on September 5.

All local authorities are requiring authorities, as are infrastructure providers.

As an example of how the QLDC used the authority, in 2013 it achieved district plan change 26 designating noise boundaries on land around Wanaka Airport to "accommodate future growth''.

A council report at the time said the noise boundaries were to accommodate "the possible introduction of scheduled flights using jet aircraft such as the Boeing 737-300 ... from about 2020 onwards.''

Through the designation, noise limits were imposed on the airport, and new development near the airport "sensitive to aircraft noise'' became a prohibited activity.

The public was consulted and a hearing panel considered submissions.

Wanaka Stakeholders Group member Sharon Beattie pointed out today the authority allowed the QAC to "compulsorily acquire private land for its projects''.

Ms Beattie said it also allowed the QAC to apply to the council to designate land, under the district plan, for a particular work or project, undertake work in an emergency and get resource consents after and go on to private land, after giving notice, to undertake investigations.

In June, the group wrote to the Minister for the Environment, David Parker, "outlining its concerns about the authority being transferred to QAC''.

The group opposes the development of Wanaka Airport for jet aircraft.


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