Up in the air
At the moment Auckland Airport is undertaking an experiment to see whether or not Auckland residents would notice if they made a significant change to the flight paths.
As a ratepayer who is directly affected by the experiment I am concerned at a number of things:
How did Auckland Airport obtain resource consent for the experiment? Was it a notified consent? If not, why not given it is highly likely that it would have a significant impact on residents?
What happens next? Who decides whether or not the experiment is a success and what are the possible implications?
Is this part of the Draft Auckland Unitary Plan – March 2013 in which it seems to be predetermined?
In the past Auckland Council (and its various predecessors) have been so concerned about complaints from residents that properties within the existing flight path have covenants on their titles that prevent complaints.
They also have special building requirements for new buildings to mitigate the noise impacts.
How then could council allow an experiment to take place to see whether or not residents would notice if they changed the flight path to go over neighbourhoods where planes did not go before?
The process of contacting the airport or council to discuss the experiment has been frustrating.
Albert-Eden Local Board chairman Peter Haynes has not returned my call and Mt Albert MP David Shearer’s office was only vaguely aware of the experiment.
The procedure for making a formal response is not clear or easy.
An extended search of the internet has revealed that the appropriate number to phone for making a complaint is 256 8133 or there is a link within the airways website – airways.co.nz.
A further search of the internet has revealed that buried within the draft unitary plan – March 2013 there is a section for proposed changes to flight paths for the northern runway.
Is this all a precursor to something that is already going to occur whether we like it or not?
It would appear that unless there are an overwhelming number of complaints, the experiment will declare that there was little or no noise impact and it is quite likely that these changes will be permanently imposed upon us.