“Early Insights Summary” Grow Well – Whaiora
We Love Wakatipu Commentary, 19 May 2020
Queenstown Lakes District Council’s spatial plan community engagement, initial feedback report, May 2020
The picture painted by QLDC’s spatial plan “early insight summary” suggests our people feel there’s no problem having an expanding airport in the midst of the community they want to make more cohesive, connected and peaceful.
That seems odd.
This spatial plan will shape the district’s communities and growth over the next 30-plus years. It is directed by QLDC as a joint venture with the government (as part of its visitor levy agreement) and Ngai Tahu. It is meant to be central to airport planning.
Participants in community workshops for the spatial plan earlier this year were told the airport was not up for discussion, because it was going to be the subject of the MartinJenkins impact assessments. And that its presence or absence wouldn’t affect the spatial plan anyway. Really?
Interestingly, however, the authors chose to include a strongly pro-airport comment (see below) as the report’s only airport narrative. Do they have an agenda? Asked one participant, was she on a different planet? Here is the link to the 12 page glossy document.
And the “snapshot” comments given as the most important feedback from Frankton’s workshop (which included Kelvin Peninsula) highlighted generic Wakatipu history and environment – nothing specific about Frankton at all. Nothing about the need for community cohesion, facilities, connection, peace – all those critical issues that workshop participants say they primarily spoke about.
In the more detailed notes provided on this link, we find that three of the four discussion tables at the Wakatipu Focus Group session identified as their first point that Frankton is the central hub of Wakatipu. Yet, it seems either participants didn’t raise or officials didn’t take note of the issue of how the airport might interfere with this.
That also seems odd.
We understand that a detailed report was to have been the subject of a council workshop on May 19, but Covid-19 interrupted that schedule. We are assured that this report will be publicly released, at the same time as the draft spatial plan. We have also, in response to our concerns, been assured that this report will be “making it very clear what the purpose of the workshops were,” and that the airports were not the focus of the sessions.
We hope that this version will give a more balanced, rounded and fairer depiction of community feedback than this early insights document. Because our community’s future – and the environment we live in – relies on it.
However, we remain concerned that a 30-plus year spatial plan is being formulated without any consideration of the airport and its future – non-expansion, expansion or removal.