Tarras airport drop-in sessions planned

Project manager Michael Singleton will be at the drop-in session at Tarras today. PHOTO REGAN HARRIS
Project manager Michael Singleton will be at the drop-in session at Tarras today. PHOTO REGAN HARRIS
Christchurch Airport is holding a series of community drop-in sessions concerning the proposed Tarras airport, including a meeting at Tarras Community Hall today.

Today Christchurch Airport unveiled a tranche of documents relating to its controversial proposal to build an airport in the small Central Otago settlement, north of Cromwell, saying almost 4 million passengers could be flying in and out by 2050. 

Among the details released is its preferred runway alignment for the project. This is northeast to the Lindis Valley and south to the Lake Dunstan Valley and it could see aircraft departing over Cromwell or through the Lindis Valley.

Speaking in advance of today’s session, which runs from 2pm until 7pm at the hall in Lindis Pass-Tarras Rd, Christchurch International Airport Central Otago project manager Michael Singleton said the events had been arranged due to a “real desire” from the community for more information. 

“So one of the things I hope they leave with today and over the next few days in Cromwell and Wānaka, is to be better informed than when they came in. That they can see some of the work that’s going on in the background to provide a really good quality base of information.”

The sessions have been timed to coincide with the release of the new summary of findings into the proposed airport, which include the preferred runway alignment and analysis of the potential impacts on land transport infrastructure.

Project director Rhys Boswell said one of the key takeaways from their analysis was that not providing additional air capacity for visitors would place “a lot more pressure” on South island roads.

“In finding other ways to get here they have to fly further and drive further and one of the calculations we did suggested up to 500,000km of vehicle passenger movements per day are added to the lower South Island network.”

An additional session will take place between 2pm and 7pm at the Cromwell Presbyterian Church in Elspeth St tomorrow, while a third session will be held at  Wānaka's Edgewater Resort in Sargood Drive between 2pm and 7pm on Thursday.

The sessions will include visual displays and information booklets about the project, while airport executives will be on hand to answer any questions from the public.

Mr Boswell said the sessions had been designed to provide attendees with the freedom to “absorb information as they wish”.

“We’re here to answer questions and for people to drill into the aspects of the project they have an interest in.

“We think that this is a good way to do it. But this is not the only way. We’re happy to arrange on-on-one sessions at coffee shops or wherever people feel comfortable."

- By Regan Harris of the Wanaka Sun