We Love Wakatipu Incorporated Society is a group of locals dedicated to ensuring that our community, rather than a small group of Auckland-based directors, makes the vital decisions about the future of our people and our place. We are all volunteers.
We have one goal – No expansion of Queenstown Airport’s air noise boundary – not now, not ever.
To achieve this requires that:
- Our Councillors and Mayor act on our community’s opposition to expanding the air noise boundary at Queenstown Airport, as required by both the letter and intent of the Local Government Act.
- QAC manages growth – strategically and sustainably – within the existing air noise boundary, to ensure our community’s well-being, maximise returns to Queenstown Lakes’ economy and safeguard our environment.
We are not anti-growth. And as we show elsewhere, there is still room for plenty of growth within the existing air noise boundary. But we do believe this is a conversation our council and community should have – what level and pace of growth can our community, environment and infrastructure handle? We believe that it is the community and council, not QAC, who should determine the strategic responses to this. As Parliamentary Commissioner for the Environment Simon Upton’s December 2019 report identifies, this is a conversation we actually need nationwide if New Zealand is going to remain a destination people want to come to and live in.
A quick look at figures for Queenstown Airport passenger arrivals over the past 15 years shows why we should have this conversation:
2005: total 609,000 passengers
2010: total 877,000 passengers
2015: total 1.509 million passengers
2019: total 2.367 million passengers.
We are currently 12 years ahead of QAC’s demand forecasts that set the current air noise boundary. If expansion is allowed, will Queenstowners be asked to expand the noise boundaries yet again in 2033? At what point might airport expansion stop if we don’t stop it now? And if we don’t have the conversation now – when there is a chance for council to respond to the outcome by sticking with the current air noise boundary – when will we have it? Too late…
Who are we?
We have come together from different groups to ensure the council hears and acts on our community’s united opposition to expansion of the airport noise boundary. And we are growing by the day.
92.5% of over 1500 submissions opposed Queenstown Airport Corporation’s air noise boundary expansion plans, their downstream impacts and the removal of our community’s voice in the strategic issues of growth management. Only 3.4% supported it. All Wakatipu basin community associations are also opposed – as are the Chamber of Commerce, Destination Queenstown, Downtown Queenstown, local iwi and more than 20 major local businesses. Yet this opposition has been ignored by both council and QAC since October, 2018. As a journalist of over four decades and a three-term district councillor, I find this undemocratic and fundamentally wrong. We Love Wakatipu aims to change this – because locals matter and growth should be smarter, not louder.
Marion is a public health physician with a keen interest in the health and wellbeing of communities. She is a recent arrival to the Wakatipu basin but has been struck by the adverse effects of rapid growth in the area for everyday people. The extensive literature on boom towns predicts the problems we’re seeing. These include shortages of housing, local social services under pressure, and displacement of workers who have long commutes. The health sector experiences this as rising demand for mental health services for people struggling with stress and anxiety. All these things are now playing and she sees the ‘growth at any cost’ approach as being harmful to communities. She believes there is an urgent need to develop a comprehensive growth strategy
The Wakatipu has been her home for over twenty years. A keen tramper and walker, she believes QAC’s dual airport strategy is flawed, and if implemented will severely degrade how we experience our natural environment. Moreover, she fears that the tourism promoters and too many of our elected officials look to our visitors as a commodity much like sheep, cattle, and dairy, as a market to grow and manage for the highest return on the dollar. This is no way to treat our community, and nor the people who come here for a Kiwi experience.
Kirsty has lived in the Wakatipu for nearly 45 years. She and Bill have three sons, two of whom are living here with their families at Kelvin Heights. They have four grandchildren, three at Remarkables Primary and one pre-schooler.
Kirsty has been a councillor on QLDC for nine years, is a Justice of the Peace, president of Queenstown Grey Power Inc and a layminister in the Anglican church. A keen gardener, she lives on Peninsula Road overlooking the old and new bridges over the Kawarau River and has a great view of what is going on at Frankton, including the airport. Kirsty is passionately opposed to any extension of the air noise boundaries and believes that as housing and businesses now surround the airport and further afield that the airport may have had its day in Frankton.
An architect, urban designer and mother of four, I am passionate about the legacy we are creating for future generations.
It’s a logical step to look at the future of airports in our region and learn from others. We are not the first tourist spot to have these issues of noise, growth and over tourism.
Having an airport smack in the middle of our growing town is limiting our potential for community cohesion, community housing, health, education and transport by taking up the very best land with the very best views, sun and linkages for these uses.