Council vs community on all three airport/airstrip fronts – two in Court

6 October 2020, We Love Wakatipu Inc release.

We Love Wakatipu Inc has learned that QLDC is not just trying to bulldoze the airwaves in Queenstown and Wanaka but also in the third airport/airstrip it owns – Glenorchy.

And Council is pushing its case against the community through court in both Glenorchy and Wanaka.  At ratepayer expense.

QLDC and Wyuna Preserve (Blanket Bay and others) are heading to the Environment Court after mediation failed to resolve differences around what QLDC are proposing in the District Plan for the Glenorchy Airstrip designation.

What do council want? Council’s evidence suggests allowing double the number of flights to operate from/to the quiet rural Glenorchy airstrip than occurred at its highest ever level, 2019.

Although too late in the piece for it to become a respondent, the Glenorchy Community Association unanimously decided at its meeting last Thursday to provide evidence to Counsel for Wyuna.

Says GCA chair, John Glover:

“We are concerned that this is linked to QAC’s desire to move general aviation out of ZQN, as evidenced in documents at the recent Wanaka Stakeholders high court action.

In 2012, QLDC agreed to take over management of the airstrip from DOC to allow the existing low key levels of use to continue – that was to serve as an emergency access, allow limited tourism activities, agricultural and private aviation use.

Despite the community pressing for the status quo, council allowed the activity to probably double from 2012 to 2016 when a reserve management plan for the strip was produced, then, despite that plan setting no growth policies, we saw council allow another doubling from 2016 to 2018. 

The community is dismayed at the prospect of yet another doubling. It also feels badly let down by QLDC who, having assured us over the years that the best way for us to ‘have our voices heard’ around how the airstrip operated was through the Reserve Management Plan, have stated in the Environment Court evidence that Council is not bound by that plan. Not sure what it is with this Council and aviation. What a waste of our time and money.”

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