Proposed extension of noise boundaries and operating hours
Continued growth in domestic and international flights into Queenstown has prompted a review of the airport’s noise boundaries and operating hours.
“Because noise boundaries are based on an average noise level for a 24- hour period, we can see we’re going to reach a point where we would reach the limit of flight activity imposed by our existing noise boundaries,” says Steve Sanderson, CEO of Queenstown Airport.
“Tourism is the economic backbone of our community – just about every business and every new development in the district relies on a steady stream of visitor arrivals. Queenstown Airport facilitated and generated gross output in the Region’s economy of some $368m. The noise boundaries we operate under were set in 1995 and the use of the airport has grown since then and this will continue so it’s quite reasonable 13 years on to take a fresh look at them.”
To minimise impact on those residents most affected by airport noise, Queenstown Airport will work with these landowners, including discussions around sound insulation for their homes. The Queenstown Lakes District Council’s District Plan will require a public process to be amended. A Plan Change would ensure that all new buildings or extensions to existing buildings in the revised noise boundaries were insulated to meet specified indoor sound levels.
Queenstown Airport is also seeking to extend its operational hours, which are currently 6am to 10pm. The proposed extension would include scheduled arrivals only from 10pm to midnight.
“This will have the added benefit of making it more attractive for Australian holiday makers to enjoy a whole weekend’s skiing or snowboarding,” says Mr Sanderson. “The two hour time difference means our Australian visitors can leave, say, Sydney at 6pm and arrive in Queenstown by 11pm – then leave Queenstown on Monday morning at 7am and arrive back in Sydney at 8am.”
He said Queenstown Airport has already had discussions with the tourism industry to promote strategic timing of direct flights for both NZ & Australian travellers. The proposed Plan Change reflects this anticipated growth and good planning means the Airport has the ability to incorporate these strategic flights in the future.
“However we’re obviously mindful of any impacts our airport operations have on residents in the Queenstown basin and it’s important that we strike the right balance between economic drivers and community needs. We believe the ideal solution lies in having noise boundaries that reflect the future growth in Queenstown. The appropriate time to plan is now, while a good deal of land surrounding the airport is zoned rural.” Following consultation, Queenstown Airport will lodge the Plan Change with the Council for processing. The community will then have another opportunity to have its say through the ‘submission’ and then ‘further submission’ processes.
Queenstown Airport has scheduled an Open Day to give everyone a chance to discuss the proposed Plan Change directly with members of the project team. The open day is being held on Wednesday the 11th of June at the Queenstown Events Centre from 2pm until 7pm.
For more information please contact:
Steve Sanderson | Chief Executive Officer Queenstown Airport Corporation Ltd | P.O Box 64, Queenstown T +64 3 4509031 | F +64 3 442 3515