SHARE

Sustainable Tarras is waiting for the results of a census-style community survey before it confirms the extent of local opposition or support for two runway options for the proposed Tarras airport.

Christchurch International Airport Ltd (CIAL) and its consultants Airbiz released two alignment options last week for land between State Highway 8 and the Clutha River.

CIAL project leader Michael Singleton says identifying the flight paths is “simply a small step forward” in a long-term project.

The preliminary studies confirm Tarras, Cromwell and Hawea Flat could eventually be under the flight paths of long-haul jets from overseas.

Cromwell Community Board chairwoman Anna Harrison said the board was aware of the potential for strong opinions but would be careful about taking a position if the Central Otago District Council was going to determine any consent applications in the future.

The Queenstown Lakes District Council-owned Queenstown Airport Corporation has signalled concerns about potential airspace conflicts with Wanaka and Queenstown airport users.

Queenstown Lakes Mayor Jim Boult spoke against the runway alignments last week and is disappointed CIAL is still pursuing the development.

Sustainable Tarras chairman Chris Goddard said the alignment options raised complex issues about how the Tarras airport could co-exist with other land and airspace users.

“This will certainly give the Tarras community fuel for thought on what their concerns actually will be,” Mr Goddard said.

Environmental sustainability, carbon footprint, and birdstrike would be big issues, he said.

The questioning sort . . . Chris Goddard (49) of Tarras is leading Sustainable Tarras’s battle to prevent an airport development next on prime farm land. PHOTO: MARJORIE COOK

Mr Goddard confirmed a survey of landowners within a 10km radius of the airport site is nearly complete, but more surveys would soon be extended more widely and in Cromwell and Wanaka.

QAC chief executive Glen Sowry said the corporation would be “particularly focused on the impact of any potential new flight paths to current airspace use, including the existing use rights of the long-established general aviation community and commercial operators in the area”.

assessment had shown new flight tracks were likely to be able to be integrated into the existing environment.

The next step was to complete detailed airspace design work, including community and stakeholder engagement, before confirming a preferred option in six to nine months, he said.

The airspace studies would be completed by Aerospace, a company belonging to Airways, New Zealand’s principal navigation service.

Queenstown Airport is a controlled airspace but Wanaka is uncontrolled.

Any decision to introduce controls was a decision for Airways and the Civil Aviation Authority, Mr Singleton said.