QLDC turns down chance to buy Wānaka Airport land

by Kim Bowden - Jan 19, 2022

Queenstown Lakes District Council has said no to a chance to buy a parcel of land at Wānaka Airport.

At an Emergency Council Meeting held this afternoon, Councillors voted not to proceed with the acquisition.

In a statement, QLDC Chief Executive Mike Theelen says under the land’s current terms of ownership Council has a right of first refusal on any sale of the land and must do so within a fixed timeframe.

“Council was advised immediately before the Christmas break that a potential sale had been agreed and to meet the timelines involved an emergency meeting of Council was convened today.

“While today’s decision means Council has elected not to exercise its right to acquire the lot at this time, Council’s right of first refusal remains and could be exercised if the land becomes available again in the future.”

From a statutory point of view, emergency council meetings differ from extraordinary meetings in terms of the length of time available in advance for public notification - today’s meeting was a public excluded session due to the commercial sensitivity of the potential acquisition, the statement said.

Earlier today, Crux received information the land in question is the site of the Warbirds and Wheels Hangar and Café, and that an historic agreement gave QLDC first option to buy the land.

On a Facebook post on the topic of the emergency meeting last night, Councillor Gladding commented:

“With a land sale there is always an element of commercial sensitivity, however I believe we could have and should have provided more information than ‘potential land acquisition’.

“I'm disappointed with the way this has been presented to ratepayers and with the way it's been brought to Councillors at the 11th hour...we were told about the meeting on Monday and received the report on Tuesday afternoon.

“The meeting is for Wednesday (today) at 1pm. A decision is required by Thursday. We had no idea this was coming.”

Advertise with Crux Advertise with Crux