Net asset: Queenstown Airport Corp brought this run-down Frankton tennis court last August for just over $1m

Queenstown Airport Corporation is splashing millions on neighbouring residential proper-ties.

It bought a run-down tennis court in McBride Street last August for just over $1 million.

And it confirms that within the past six months it’s bought two homes that are also within its inner air noise boundary.

QAC property boss Rachel Tregidga won’t disclose the prices paid “for commercial reasons and to protect the privacy of the vendors”.

However it’s understood at least one of those homes is also in McBride St, and that it sold for about $1.3m.

Asked the reason for the buy-up, Tregidga states: “The common element between these purchases is that they sit within the inner noise boundary of the airport, and buying them is a step towards expanding the buffer zone between the airport operations and privately-owned residences.”

Despite the homes’ proximity to the airport, she says QAC’s ensuring they meet the standards laid out in the Residential Tenancies Act 1986 “before intending to rent them on the open market”.

QAC shelved plans to expand its noise boundaries last year after a huge outcry in the community, with some 92 per cent of those who responded to public consultation against the idea. Only four per cent supported it, with the remainder neutral.

Nearly 1500 people and 19 groups had their say on the proposal, which would enable the airport to almost double the number of flights over the next three decades.

The backlash has continued this year with the Flightplan 2050 group, consisting of Kelvin Heights residents and others, campaigning for it to be replaced with a new airport outside the district.

QAC has put the plans on hold while it investigates a dual-airport approach with Wanaka Airport, for which it has the lease.

Mountain Scene reported in 2016 that QAC had just paid $1.28m for a four-bedroom home on the runway side of McBride St, meaning it therefore owned three neighbouring properties on the Frankton street.

At the time, acting airport boss Mark Edghill said QAC wasn’t extending the runway, but was going to use the properties to test noise mitigation measures.

QAC offers acoustic insulation to properties within its inner air noise boundary. Queenstown’s council owns 75.01 per cent of the airport, while Auckland Airport owns the rest.

  • Philip Chandler, Mountain Scene

Not comment on omission of alternative site

Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) has declined to say why its consultant Arup did not consider the Sugarloaf Terrace near Lowburn as a possible alternative site for Queenstown Airport.

Arup considered 20 sites, including Hollyford, near Milford Sound, Ranfurly, Glenorchy and Omarama.

However, aviation interests concerned about development of Wanaka Airport questioned the omission of the Sugarloaf site.

QAC general manager property and planning Rachel Tregidga said yesterday Arup had extensive experience and the QAC was confident it took a “comprehensive approach”.

“We do not plan to debate the merits of individual possible alternative locations on an ad hoc basis as this simply creates uncertainty for people living in that vicinity, when our approach is focused on complementary development of Queenstown and Wanaka airports.”

  • Mark Price, Otago Daily Times