Residents rally with airport petition

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Residents are rallying against Queenstown Airport’s plans to extend its aircraft noise boundaries with a petition signed by almost 1500 people.

Representatives from the Frankton Community Association (FCA) and Kelvin Peninsula Community Association delivered a petition opposing the plans to the airport’s property and planning boss, Rachel Tregidga, on Tuesday.

The groups are concerned about “excessive noise” the changes would bring, an “alarming increase in tourism” and suggest strategic decisions should be made by the community and council rather than the airport company.

“It depends if the town can actually handle it, and at this stage the feedback we’re certainly getting is no, it can’t,” says FCA chairman Glyn Lewers.

He says there will be a “negative backlash” if the right infrastructure isn’t in place to support the expansion.

The groups also want the airport to hold off on the proposed variation to the district plan until there’s a clearer understanding of what the Wanaka Airport masterplan and Queenstown council’s 2050 vision forum come up with.

Both associations also made submissions on the noise boundaries plan before Monday’s deadline.

The petition was launched after both groups held separate public meetings last week.

The airport plans to expand its noise boundaries into residential areas including Frankton Road, Kelvin Heights and Lake Hayes Estate.

It wants to almost double the number of annual aircraft movements allowed by the present boundaries, and more than double annual passenger movements, by 2045.

The airport company announced in its annual report yesterday its revenue is up 17 per cent to $45.7 million from last year, while its underlying profit increased by 21 per cent to $14.9m.

Passenger numbers are up to 2,140,669 – a 13 per cent increase on last year’s figures.