NOISE boundaries surrounding Queenstown Airport look set to be expanded to allow for its projected growth to 2037.
The familiar roar of jet engines in the skies above the resort is expected to increase over the next 25 years.
Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) has been embroiled in a long-running dispute about probable impact on nearby communities and potential developments – such as Frankton Flats and a proposed high school.
The parties were due to have the matter settled in the Environment Court in Queenstown this week.
But they have reached an agreement and now simply need the Court to approve the details.
Residents group Wakatipu Residents Against Airport Noise (WRAAN) withdrew its appeal this morning (Thursday).
All the other parties – QAC, Queenstown Lakes District Council, Remarkables Park Ltd and Shotover Park Ltd, Air New Zealand and the Ministry of Education – have reached an agreement.
The agreement on Plan Change 35 – which details how the District Plan will be altered to accommodate airport growth – was presented to the Court today.
QAC lawyer Amanda Dewar says: “A comprehensive package has been agreed by all the parties that amends the Proposed Plan Change provisions, some of the conditions to the Designation and the noise management plan.
“This is now before the Court for its approval.
“The agreement reached endeavours to preserve as far as practicable existing zone development opportunities while at the same time enabling the Airport to develop in terms of the 2037 noise contours.”
One noise boundary contour forms a tight zone around the airport, taking in some Frankton properties between the lake and the end of the runway, where noise levels can reach a 65-decibel average over a 24-hour period.
A larger contour shows a 60db zone. Over a wider area still – incorporating much of Frankton, the Remarkables Park Shopping Centre and other areas – noise levels will be restricted to 55db.
QAC will be required to regularly monitor the areas.
The actual recorded decibel levels during a jet’s arrival or departure are between 94 and 100db.
Judge Jane Borthwick today heard QAC’s planning expert John Kyle outline the details of the agreement.
Kyle concluded: “This will yield substantial benefit to the regional and national economy. The proposed provisions will assist to safeguard an existing strategic asset.”
In the afternoon session, acoustics expert Christopher Day outlined the technical noise issues.
WRAAN member Scott Freeman says: “We are comfortable with the outcome.”
The group is bound by a confidentiality agreement with QAC.