Up in the air

Central Leader - - LETTERS -

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.

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