Airport growth online survey – flawed but please have your say.

Councillors on Tuesday (Feb 25) bravely stood up against pressure to expand Queenstown Airport’s noise boundary.  But their final decision – yay or nay – will be guided by results of the MartinJenkins airport growth impact assessments.

So taking part in the survey that will influence these assessments is really important.  And we say that despite We Love Wakatipu Inc’s serious concerns about the glaring inadequacies of the “consultation” process promised by the Mayor back in August.

We have just one and a half weeks left to respond to the online survey – it closes Wednesday, March 11.  It’s far from perfect, but it is our community’s chance to have our voice heard by councillors. You can read our concerns – shared by other community groups and individuals – in other posts, so we won’t repeat them here.

Remember – you can suggest alternative airport scenarios to MartinJenkins’ four “hypothetical” proposals.  And there’s room at questions 12 and 29 to respond with your own words and ideas.  Please do – it’s our best chance to provide clarity.

We know that many of us feel we have already told Queenstown Lakes District Council and Queenstown Airport Corporation exactly why we don’t want our airport’s air noise boundary expanded.

After all, 92.5% of over 1500 submissions to QAC’s 2018 community consultation opposed expansion and only 3.4% were in favour. 1500 people signed a petition opposing expansion. And in an open letter to QLDC, Queenstown Stakeholders Group expressed their unanimous opposition. 

Signatories included all Wakatipu Basin community associations, the Chamber of Commerce, Destination Queenstown, Downtown Queenstown and over 20 major downtown businesses – including Real Journeys, of which Mayor Jim Boult is uber-chair.

We think that is unequivocal. Unfortunately, however, council’s senior management team somehow describes it is only 3% of residents. 

So it does rather stick in our craw to be encouraging you all to take part in what is a fundamentally flawed community feedback process being run by consultants MartinJenkins on QLDC’s behalf, at ratepayers’ expense.

We Love Wakatipu asked MartinJenkins if they had included submissions to QAC’s 2018 consultation in their literature review. They said they would read the summary.

We asked again at the focus group we attended and got a MartinJenkins consultant’s agreement that people could send in their full 2018 QAC submission towards this process. So,  if you want them to read your whole 2018 submission, rather than rely on someone’s summary of it, you can send it to: attention Donella.

Initial results are going to be presented by MartinJenkins to Council in early March with the final report due mid-May.  The initial results will help shape QAC’s statement of intent – which defines what QAC can and cannot do. The strategic direction for this SOI should rest with Council. So far, they have given little.

So in a spirit of optimism and community collaboration, let’s all give our councillors a really good picture of what we want.  For We Love Wakatipu, that’s an easy ask – no expansion of the Queenstown Airport air noise boundary, with all its downstream ramifications.

If you’d like some guidance, read on…

  • Please set aside at least half an hour to do the survey – it’s long and worth responding to thoroughly if you can.  Do this before their Wednesday 11th March deadline.
  • Responses are more powerful if you add relevant comments where you can. Use your own words and be crystal clear about where you stand. Best opportunities for comment are questions 12 and 29, which don’t appear to have word limits and ask what you think are the potential impacts of future airport development on your or your community. Other text boxes have a 200-word limit.
  • If you’d like some fodder for thought, we have heaps of info on our website.  Specific links are provided below.
  • When you get into the survey, you can click through and preview the questions (without filling them out).  This is worthwhile to gather your thoughts.
  • If you think a page is confusing or does not allow you to voice your view, include that fact in one of the comments sections. 
  • Please be respectful of individuals and focus on the issues.
  • Make sure that you submit your survey at the end.
  • And because it is anonymous, even residents of Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country who have signed no objection covenants can say exactly what they feel.

Please make your concerns loud and clear so QLDC can’t say “you didn’t turn up”. If we don’t speak up now, we definitely won’t be heard.

Useful links:

Here’s the link to the survey on QLDC’s Let’s Talk consultation portal.  This link takes you right through to the survey itself.

Here is a link to some of We Love Wakatipu’s ideas about what impacts expansion of Queenstown Airport’s noise boundary would have on you and on Queenstown

For safety implications check out this link

For health impacts, visit our website on this link.

And while you’re at our website, please join We Love Wakatipu Inc to support our campaign to stop expansion of the air noise boundary. It is free, confidential (so again, open to locals who cannot otherwise object to any airport plans because of covenants they signed when buying their properties) and takes less than a minute.

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