QLDC proposes accepting airport growth plan
The following statement, attributed to QLDC CEO Mike Theelen, has been issued by the QLDC.
"To shift the contentious Queenstown Airport focus to critical work which will need to take place over the next three months the Council is seeking to adopt an entirely new process around influencing the Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) Statement of Intent (SOI) outcomes.
Council is proposing building the governance relationship between the Council and the QAC Board by developing a steering group to work together on a shared understanding of Council expectations and the QAC’s intentions.
To progress this work Council will also be asked to make a challenging decision on Thursday.
“On occasion Council must make a decision in the knowledge that it will create a perception that it is not representing community wishes, in this instance it could not be further from the truth.”
The recommendation to agree the amended 2019 SOI adopted by the QAC on 20 August will draw an important line in the sand.
We are acutely aware that there will be some genuine concern that if we act on the advice to follow due process and agree the amended SOI, we in some way compromise on the outcomes we seek.
If we are to follow the process prescribed by the Local Government Act there is no choice but to either agree the 2019 SOI or seek to amend it again. The recommendation is to put our collective energies into the new document, due in March 2020.
To satisfy any concern that Councillors and the community may hold, QLDC has sought an emphatic reassurance from QAC that it will work in good faith with the new Council on a new SOI to reflect concerns raised over the course of the year.
We are seeking to underline that QAC has committed that no development will take place on Queenstown’s noise boundaries or introducing commercial flights to Wanaka until the completion of the economic and social impact assessments (to be reflected in the new SOI). This commitment was also reflected in the August resolution of Council.
By fulfilling our legal obligations this week we are not in some way enabling the QAC to step away from explicit undertakings to our community. We need to look forward, not backwards, as we strategically plan for our future."