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The Queenstown Lakes district is spiralling into a cost of living crisis and its community is begging councillors to beef up budgets for climate action, mountain-biking assets, new airports and high›density development.

These topics were discussed during the Queenstown Lakes District Council 2022 annual plan hearing via Zoom last week.

When the council put the draft annual plan out for community consultation in April, it indicated rates increases were on the way, but it wanted to contain them to an average increase of 6%.

The capital expenditure programme for the coming year is $268 million, $71.6 million more than the $196.4 million set out for spending in 2022-23 in the 10-year plan.

The increase is because of council commitments to maintain levels of services, while addressing central government reforms and reviews of Three Waters, local government and resource management.

Among the topics the council wanted public feedback on were increasing the $257,000 budget for its climate and biodiversity plan to $677,000.

The annual plan drew 130 submissions, forming a 616-page document.

Of those submitters, 41 people each spoke for five minutes to the council and several made calls for increased climate action funding.

Queenstown Lakes Climate Reference Group chairwoman Bridget Legnavsky said the group was disappointed the extra funding had been described as a ‘‘stretch goal’’.

Climate action should be given more weight as a goal and funding for it should be ring›fenced, she said.

Flight Plan 2050 spokesman John Hilhorst, of Queenstown, urged the council to set aside climate action funds to investigate redeveloping Queenstown Airport into high-density housing and exploring opportunities for a new district airport at Tarras.

That would solve the accommodation crisis, increase social wellbeing, enhance council revenues and future›proof district air connectivity, Mr Hilhorst said.

Ignoring those pressures was ‘‘increasingly unacceptable’’, he said.

Wai Wanaka manager Julie Perry asked for funding for the group’s water quality activities and environmental and education programmes.

The central government Jobs for Nature funding ended next year and Wai Wanaka was looking for ways to retain its team and find ways to keep things going, she said.

Sustainable Glenorchy spokeswoman Trish Fraser said ‘‘Glenorchy has been somewhat left out in the cold’’ and sought funding for several carbon›reduction activities in the community, including active travel, regenerative tourism and a cycle trail around Lake Wakatipu.

The council is scheduled to adopt the final annual plan and budgets on Thursday, June 30.