Queenstown Airport highlights noise levels at proposed new Frankton School
While acknowledging the need for a school for the Frankton region, Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) announced today that it will oppose the location being proposed by the Ministry of Education because simply, it is too close to the airport.
Chief Executive of QAC, Steve Sanderson, explained that the proposed school site at the end of Grants Road is within the airport’s outer noise boundary of 55 decibels and, of more concern, it is immediately adjacent to the 65 decibel noise boundary. “The noise standard adopted in the District Plan clearly states that noise sensitive activities such as schools, hospitals and residential housing should be excluded within these noise boundaries,” he said.
The quoted noise boundary levels are calculated as an average noise activity over a 24-hour period. Consequently, taking into account that the airport’s last commercial scheduled flight is currently no later than 6pm, the stated average noise level is somewhat misleading. The airport installed a noise-monitoring device at the proposed site during August and September. The actual recorded decibel levels were between 94 and 100, which represent the actual noise level at the time of a jet’s arrival or departure.
Steve Sanderson said QAC’s tests at the proposed school site were part of a wider noise-monitoring programme that it recently completed. “Early evaluations indicate our current noise boundaries are not meeting the airport’s needs. We are still reviewing the new data but it is highly likely QAC will need to amend its noise designation boundaries within the District Plan. The expansion of the noise boundaries is mainly driven by improved noise prediction technology, and more growth than forecasted.”
“The airport’s acoustic experts have also advised us that the only way the Ministry of Education’s proposed school could achieve an internal noise target of 35db is by installing acoustic insulation including no opening windows and airlock type doors. While this could be achieved it still leaves the external play areas subject to extensive noise, which is very difficult to shield.”
He said another key concern is that QAC has been planning for six years to move all general aviation and helicopter operations to the northern side of the main runway. “This will definitely change the noise profile close to the proposed school site. The move will occur in the next 24 months and all our stakeholders are fully aware of this plan, including the Ministry of Education.”
“Locating any noise sensitive activity close to the airport has the potential to restrict our operations in the future. I’m confident that most residents and businesses in the district are fully aware of the airport’s vital importance to regional economic activity. We continue to experience strong international and domestic passenger growth, and forecast this to continue, especially as Queenstown becomes more of a four-season destination.”
Steve Sanderson confirmed that QAC would ask the Ministry to re-evaluate the Joe O’Connell Drive site, which would still see the school built to accommodate airport’s noise boundary requirements and be adjacent to the Events Centre and its facilities.
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