Next Thursday (September 12) will offer a chance for locals to hear what candidates standing as Councillors in the Wanaka Ward feel about a key issue in the Upper Clutha community: the proposed expansion of Wanaka Airport.
The 2800-member-strong Wanaka Stakeholders Group (WSG) will be hosting ‘Upper Clutha Decides 2019’ as a way to give everyone an opportunity to hear from Councillors, as well as community board and mayoral candidates via video, about their views on related topics such as an approach to growth, infrastructure issues, tourism and the debate around the airport itself. It is reportedly the only all-candidate event taking place in town before voting begins in this year’s local body elections.
“Queenstown Airport Corporation's planned development of Wanaka Airport has emerged as the most important issue for the Upper Clutha community and our Councillors and Community Board members,” said WSG member Meg Taylor. “Whether we are for or against the proposed development, we need to think about the impact a jet-capable airport will have on infrastructure, growth, tourism, housing and our environment in Upper Clutha in 20 to 50 years' time; what changes new flight technologies will bring in that time and how will that affect airport requirements. What will global tourism be looking for in a destination in 20 years’ time.”
Candidates will be asked to share their views on a range of questions submitted by the audience in a panel discussion format run by an independent MC who is familiar with local issues. Audience questions will be submitted in advance with the most popular ones presented to Councillors; however, WSG said there should be time for questions from the floor.
“It is really important that people are able to question future Councillors and nominees on this issue and ensure genuine community input into future plans for the airport and our towns,” said Taylor.
Upper Clutha Decides 2019 will be at Lake Wanaka Centre from 7:30 until 9:30pm with Council candidates and WSG core members making themselves available post event to discuss their views.
The event is open to everyone, and free tickets are available via www.bit.ly/decides2019.