Tarras International Airport? Communities have questions

The community felt there were many unanswered questions relating to climate change, sustainable tourism, the funding trail and the legality of the whole process.

A community meeting to address the implications of a proposed international airport at Tarras last Sunday reached unanimous agreement that this was a matter of “national rather than just local concern,” according to the Tarras Community Trust. 

The major concern with the proposal was “evident lack of due process,” said the Trust. “For example, Christchurch International Airport Ltd is 25 per cent owned by the Crown and 75 per cent by Christchurch City Council. What did the government know about this proposal?”

The community felt there were many other unanswered questions, relating to climate change, sustainable tourism, the funding trail and the legality of the whole process.

Their concerns were echoed by the Wānaka Stakeholders Group (WSG), who said it was “very difficult to understand” how a jet airport at either Wānaka or Tarras “could help New Zealand to reduce its greenhouse gas emissions in line with our international commitments.”

Whilst WSG “looked forward to more detailed information from CIAL about their proposals at Tarras, enabling us to form a clearer view about that proposed development,”  there was no doubt that “all surrounding communities, including those of Tarras, Queensberry, Luggate, Hāwea, Wānaka and Cromwell would be significantly impacted by the development of an international airport.”

“Another international airport will only supercharge the problems Queenstown, Wānaka, Tekapo and other tourism hotspots were experiencing pre-COVID. Surely we should start by examining what our national tourism policy should be?” WSG said.

Waitaki National MP Jacqui Dean said she welcomed the proposal, which would “relieve congestion and concerns around Queenstown and Wānaka airports and set this region up for the future.”

A public meeting was to be held last night at the Tarras Community Hall, to which members of national and local government, and a representative of Christchurch International Airport, were also invited.

View edition 985 of the Wānaka Sun here.

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