Airport boss: Please don’t do this


A battle looms between Queenstown Airport and its major shareholder over future housing developments.

Queenstown Lakes District Council, the 75.1 per cent owner of Queenstown Airport, wants to increase the density of housing in residential areas – including near the airport, at Frankton.

Queenstown Airport Corporation chief executive Scott Paterson spoke at the public forum before yesterday’s full council meeting, stating the company’s opposition to more houses being built in areas affected by aircraft noise.

“We do not feel the planners have heard our very simple comments – which are, please don’t do this.”

Paterson says some of the areas for increased development were within its noise control boundaries.

On Sunday, the airport dealt with a record 1540 international passengers arriving.

Paterson told councillors yesterday: “This airport has grown at a rate we didn’t see coming.”

The airport company’s latest accounts include a $7 million contingent liability for noise mitigation work on about 380 neighbouring properties up to 2037.

Council district plan manager Matthew Paetz told councillors yesterday he thought the Frankton areas should remain in the district plan review, which is still to be finally approved by councillors, before public notification.

“We acknowledge the importance of the airport to the district,” he says.

“We also need to balance that with the really critical housing issues we face in this district.

“Frankton is a very good location for intensification and a public transport hub.”

Paetz says only 20-30 per cent of the land area earmarked for intensified development was within the airport’s noise control area. He says council planners would again meet airport company officials.

Queenstown mayor Vanessa van Uden countered that the council should not take action that further complicated a potential conflict with the airport.

Council chief executive Adam Feeley says the clash between Auckland stadium Eden Park and local residents showed there was no legal defence in the argument that people moved to the area knowing there was a potential problem.

“People will still take you to court.”

Noise is one of the key factors in a long-running Environment Court battle over 19ha of land neighbouring the airport.

Queenstown Airport has “required” the block, owned by developer Remarkables Park, for expanded facilities.