No more airport noise. Not now, not ever.
Welcome to Protect Queenstown, the website of We Love Wakatipu Incorporated Society. We’re a group of locals dedicated to ensuring that our community’s strong opposition to expanding the airport’s noise boundary – and all its multiple downstream implications – is listened to by our council. And that it is our council and community that make the vital decisions about the future of our people and our place – not a small group of Auckland-based Queenstown Airport Corporation directors.
In August 2018, 92.5% of more than 1500 submissions opposed QAC’s noise boundary expansion plans vs just 3.4% in support. All six Wakatipu basin community associations signed Queenstown Stakeholder Group’s letter of opposition, as did the Chamber of Commerce, Destination Queenstown, Downtown Queenstown and more than 20 major businesses and local iwi. [QSG cover letter and submission]
Our community’s feedback was clear – more than doubling current passenger numbers would be too much – for us, our environment, our landscape, our infrastructure, our lifestyles.
QAC appeared to listen. Its Queenstown expansion plans were put on the back burner and its focus swivelled to Wanaka. BUT Wanaka has pushed back strongly and ZQN expansion is still officially part of QAC’s business plan, despite Mayor Jim Boult saying he had ‘pushed pause’. Councillors have contracted consultants MartinJenkins to write economic and social impact assessments to “guide” them whether they should “push go” instead. So far, the parameters, methodology, objectives, robustness and consultation opportunities of these assessments remain opaque. And our councillors have had no input.
We have to ask – why are QAC and council continuing to push ahead despite this broad and deep community opposition?
QAC has said clearly it can still make a profit within the existing noise boundary. There is still room within the boundary for around 1.6 million more passengers a year, using current fleet capacity. Technology now being developed aims to reduce noise levels by 75% – so yet more people and planes will be able to arrive within current limits.
Questions of safety raised in Civil Aviation Authority reports would be exacerbated by increased traffic. Our creaking infrastructure would be further stressed – as would our environment, community, lifestyle, health and economy.
For what gain? For what purpose?
Now is the time to act. Expansion of the air noise boundaries cannot be rescinded once the negative impacts are proven. We look forward to your support. Please read on for more details…
Want more detail?
Then go to “The Detail” page. This will be updated as new information comes to hand so that the discussions we should all be having are well informed.
What can you do about this?
Protect Queenstown has been set up by We Love Wakatipu Inc to help you understand the issues and see how you can be involved and have your say. Don’t let QAC decide the future of our people and our place without your input!
Mayor Jim Boult announced in early August 2019 that social and economic impact assessments would be done to guide council’s decisions on airport growth. But five months later (one month before preliminary results are due), we still don’t know how the community will have input into these. Despite our serious misgivings about the opacity, transparency, objectivity, robustness, community basis and rushed nature of this process, it is still important to take part. Once we know anything about it… we will share on our Facebook page.
There are various other ways that you can take action – and we would love to hear your suggestions. Check out the current options here.
Most importantly, please take a moment to join We Love Wakatipu, to give our community a voice that council and QAC can no longer ignore. And to keep informed about developments.