Queenstown Airport Corporation has outlined plans to soundproof some homes affected by aircraft noise.
More than 150 homeowners near the Frankton aerodrome will receive money for noise reduction home improvements over the next two years.
Measures include acoustic insulation, such as doubled-glazed windows, and mechanical ventilation – ensuring noise levels indoors are below 40 decibels.
Ten homeowners with houses closest to the runway will have the costs paid in full. The rest will be offered 75 per cent of the costs.
As the airport traffic increases over the next 24 years, more homes will be eligible for funding in a rolling programme.
The scheme – part of the airport’s noise management plan – will initially cost about $2 million.
“We are very mindful of the impact [growth] will have on our neighbours over the years and want to be proactive in helping them future-proof their homes,” corporation chief executive Scott Paterson says.
By 2037, an estimated 380 homes will have received funding from QAC.
Homes within an ‘inner noise sector’ – where noise levels (averaged over 24 hours) in 2037 will exceed 65 decibels – will receive 100 per cent of costs.
Homes within a ‘mid noise sector’ – more than 60db but less than 65db – will receive 75 per cent.
New builds – such as the new Wakatipu High School at Remarkables Park – will need to be built with noise dampening as standard at no cost to the corporation.
A drop-in public information session will be held on March 12.
Offer letters will be sent out in July and August to all home owners eligible for the first phase, with offers valid for one year.
Work will begin in September and October.
Summer noise monitoring will be carried out next January and February with the results available in the second quarter of the year.
The airport handles 1.2 million passengers a year, with numbers expected to triple over the next two decades.
Paterson says dividends to its two shareholders Queenstown Lakes District Council, which owns 75.1 per cent, and Auckland International Airport, will not be affected.
Queenstown Airport’s noise management plan was approved last week by the Airport Liaison Committee, which includes Frankton residents.
It has taken six years to reach this stage.
The plan is part of QAC’s Plan Change 35 – which will amend the airport noise boundaries and District Plan provisions to accommodate growth.
It’s stuck in the Environment Court as parties wrangle over the changes but QAC has elected to introduce noise management measures now rather than wait for the technical details.
“We feel it’s the right thing to do,” Paterson says.
“We have a responsibility to consider the impact of increasing aircraft movements on our neighbours and what we can do to help but at the same time we need to protect the role of the airport as a major driver for the regional economy to provide for its future growth.”
Acoustic insulation measures also includes batts in ceilings, additional gibboard and compression seals, while mechanical ventilation uses ducts and fans to move air between the inside and outdoors.
The measures allow homeowners to close their windows and doors, reducing noise.