WSG makes impassioned presentation to Wanaka Community Board

WCB Presentation for 4 July.

Good morning Members of the Wanaka Community Board, Chief Executive Mike Theelen and Council staff – members of the public. My name is Michael Ross and I am chairman of the Wanaka Stakeholders Group. I would like speak about the QAC SOI topic and the proposed redevelopment of the Wanaka Airport.

Firstly I would like to thank both Callum and Quentin for voting against the Statement of Intent resolution passed by council last week. You did speak against it Ross – so it would have been good to see you support your fellow Wanaka Ward Councillors. That would have made it interesting at 6 all. So it was quite close!

But – the ink hadn’t even dried on the Climate Change Emergency resolution passed by Council before a conditional resolution was passed to receive the QAC SOI – subject to conditions and we are unsure as to when they will re-tabled. It seems to us completely contradictatory and unacceptable to accept an SOI that underpins the future development of the Wanaka Airport as a “dual Airport”  and yet completely flies in the face of the climate change concerns so enthusiastically supported by Council just 5 minutes previously.

What I think we can say is that the Board of QAC  now knows in no uncertain terms that it does NOT have council support for the final SOI they submitted.

Given that we are now appear to be in a state of strategic limbo – I would like to suggest the Wanaka Community Board ensures that there is an item on the QAC SOI on their next agenda. We believe this is such a critical strategic issue that the WCB must consider and debate the SOI in their own community. This community – who would be so dramatically affected if a Queenstown sized airport were to be plonked on our outskirts of town.

Your primary role (Section 52a )is to act as an advocate for the interests of its community. We ask that our you do just that – that you consider this is a matter of concern to the community.

We want local democracy to have a voice here.

Our community needs to hear the views of its elected representatives on such a critical issue.

We want an opportunity let you know our views – given that we have not been consulted on this.

In addition to discussing your views on the SOI you could also recommend to Council a couple of fundamental steps which we believe must be in place. You should resolve:-

1 – That the final Wanaka Airport Masterplan is presented to and considered by the WCB BEFORE being considered by Council.

2 – That given the recent decision by QLDC to declare a climate change emergency – that QAC is required to tell us what its sustainability framework is, what criteria it will use to determine its level of sustainability and who will hold it accountable to the standards set. These should be detailed un the SOI.

There is mounting concern – indeed some distress –  in the Upper Clutha community amongst people feeling their views are not being listened to by Council and that the life they have passionately embraced here is going to be stripped away from them without having any say. By getting actively involved,  and doing so now – the Community Board could go some way to addressing the significant concerns out there in our community.

Many thanks. Michael Ross – Chairman – Wanaka Stakeholders Group

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