A survey of over 1,200 people in and around Wānaka has found that 74 per cent are opposed to a new international airport planned at Tarras, with environmental impacts being their top concern.
The survey, by community organisation Wānaka Stakeholders Group Inc. also found that people were very concerned about the impacts on quality of life and road safety, with nearly all respondents seeking far greater consultation and involvement in airport decisions in the region.
The survey included responses from 366 businesspeople in the district, residents from all key settlements in the Upper Clutha, plus Tarras and the surrounding area, and was representative of all adult age groups.
WSG issued a detailed update to its 3,500+ members last Thursday, including confirmation that the group's primary focus was the failure by QLDC to consult – properly and lawfully – about the future of Wanaka Airport and Project Pure.
WSG Chair, Michael Ross, said that the results of the survey were "clear and emphatic."
"The time has long since passed when the Upper Clutha community will sit back and allow airport companies to determine the future of our local infrastructure and environment, aided and actively supported by councils that place commercial interests above community interests, play down community concerns and even blatantly ignore them."
He called for "bold leadership" from the Central Government "to ensure that sound decisions are made around airport development, national infrastructure and controls on inbound tourism."
WSG is awaiting the judge’s decisions from a five-day judicial review held in the High Court in Queenstown late last year.
Christchurch International Airport Ltd responded to the Sun:
“What we can say is we are not surprised that those members of the group who responded are concerned about the environmental impact of a new airport - and we certainly hear and acknowledge that along with the other potential impacts on people’s minds.
“Our proposal is to design a greenfields airport with a lower carbon future in mind, while still enabling the connectivity this region deserves. We think this option deserves careful consideration.
“We already have a focus on, and experience in, operating sustainably and are the first airport in the world to reach global recognition for reducing our carbon footprint.”
Read edition 1014 of the Wānaka Sun here.