Res­i­dents un­happy at aero­drome for O¯ tane

CHB Mail - - News -

A landowner is build­ing a pri­vate airstrip in a ru­ral area on the out­skirts of O¯ tane, in­fu­ri­at­ing res­i­dents.

Josh Calder is be­lieved to be us­ing land he now owns on El­sthorpe Rd for a new airstrip so he can fly di­rect from his home to his top-dress­ing busi­ness Ru­ral Air Work in Waipuku­rau.

De­vel­op­ment has al­ready started in the pad­dock, one across from O¯ tane res­i­dent Kerry Thomp­son, who had no idea about the de­vel­op­ment un­til earth­mov­ing ma­chin­ery ar­rived.

Calder has de­clined to com­ment.

Thomp­son said he and a group of oth­ers met Calder over a week ago to ask what the in­ten­tion of the works were.

“He said the in­ten­tion is ‘you guys drive your cars to work and I’m driv­ing my plane to work’.

“He told us there would be two planes leav­ing in the morn­ing and two planes com­ing in at night.

“They told us the noise level will be loud but it will only last for 10 min­utes.”

He said the noise would be ex­ac­er­bated by the tim­ing of the flights, which Thomp­son was told would “start early”.

The flight path of the planes would be down the val­ley to­wards Waipawa, over new life­style blocks, Thomp­son said.

O¯ tane res­i­dent Michelle Rich­mond said the fact the run­way was be­ing built with­out dis­cus­sion with the com­mu­nity was dis­ap­point­ing.

“There’s ma­chin­ery on the prop­erty now do­ing all the work and I can hear the noise.

“We’ve got young stock on our prop­erty and planes fly­ing in and out at low al­ti­tude puts young horses through fences be­cause it fright­ens them.”

Rich­mond said orig­i­nally, due to all the new sub­di­vi­sions in O¯ tane, she thought it was just an­other go­ing in.

“I thought that’s fine, it’s adding value to the prop­er­ties, it’s good for Otane, ¯ it’s good growth for the re­gion.

“But when I found out it was an aero­drome, I was re­ally un­happy.

“Th­ese planes will be tak­ing off re­ally early in the morn­ing. There’s a 10-minute warm up, it’s go­ing to be noisy.”

Other neigh­bours told Hawke’s Bay To­day the planes would not only dis­rupt the town­ship, but also af­fect the value of homes within the area.

“I’ve lived here for 25 years and since I’ve been here there’s houses spring­ing up all over the place, and there doesn’t seem to be any re­gard for that what­so­ever,” said one res­i­dent who did not want to be named.

Cen­tral Hawke’s Bay Mayor Alex Walker said it was a “frus­trat­ing sit­u­a­tion” for some res­i­dents.

The land was zoned ru­ral, and con­struc­tion of an airstrip for “pri­vate com­mer­cial use” was per­mit­ted on ru­ral land.

“It is a very good ex­am­ple of where our new District Plan needs to bal­ance the rights of ex­ist­ing house­holds and busi­nesses, with the op­por­tu­ni­ties for new ac­tiv­i­ties,” Walker said. “This is one of the rea­sons why coun­cil­lors and I have made re­view of our rules a pri­or­ity dur­ing this term.”

A CHB coun­cil spokesper­son said the level of earth­works re­quired was not high enough to war­rant Hawke’s Bay Re­gional Coun­cil in­volve­ment, and the Civil Avi­a­tion Au­thor­ity had not pub­licly ex­pressed con­cern.


Otane ¯ res­i­dent Kerry Thomp­son is one of many up­set by the build of a new aero­drome in O¯ tane.

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