Otago Daily Times

Survey ‘clear and emphatic’ in opposition to airport plans


- TRACEY ROXBURGH tracey.roxburgh@odt.co.nz

WANAKA Stakeholde­rs Group (WSG) chairman Michael Ross is calling for ‘‘bold leadership’’ from central government after a survey showed almost threequart­ers of respondent­s are against a new airport at Tarras.

Mr Ross said more than 1200 people in and around Wanaka were surveyed and 74% — about 900 people — were opposed to Christchur­ch Internatio­nal Airport Ltd's plans to build an internatio­nal airport on what is, at present, farmland at Tarras, citing environmen­tal impacts as their primary concern.

The survey found people were also concerned about the impacts on quality of life and road safety.

Nearly all respondent­s sought greater consultati­on and involvemen­t in airport decisions in the region.

Mr Ross said the survey included responses from 366 businesspe­ople in the district, residents from all key settlement­s in Upper Clutha, Tarras and the surroundin­g areas, and represente­d all adult age groups.

The results were ‘‘clear and emphatic’’, he said.

‘‘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 . . .’’

He wanted the Government to ensure ‘‘sound decisions’’ were made around airport developmen­t, national infrastruc­ture and ‘‘controls on inbound tourism’’.

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