It’ll be heli-hell, says resident

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A Queenstowner fighting an Arthurs Point helipad warns a proposed district plan change opens the throttle on helicopter landings throughout the entire Wakatipu.

Queenstown Lakes District Council’s plan change 27 supposedly updates noise-measuring standards but Arthurs Point Protection Society secretary Chris Streat claims it’s far more insidious than that.

Eight helicopter landings or takeoffs a day, just 80m from your house, could be noise-compliant under the new rules, Streat alleges. “The fewer the flights, the closer the helipad could be.”

The plan change increases noise limits 200 per cent by introducing a helicopter acoustic standard, he alleges. QLDC should have given reasons why it’s relaxing noise standards, he adds.

Ironically, the council’s mailer says “managing noise is one way that the district plan seeks to make sure we have pleasant and healthy places to live”.

Streat: “In contrast, [his action group] submits that plan change 27 does nothing but increase noise levels.”

According to Streat, QLDC has already embraced the new standard by supporting the helipad consent his group is fighting in the Environment Court.

QLDC policy planner Dan Wells argues the plan change merely clarifies how noise, including that made by choppers, is measured – in line with new national standards. “We’re not changing any noise levels – that’s certainly not the intention.”

Submissions on the plan change close tomorrow.