WSG’s submission to QLDC full council meeting – Wanaka, 8th August 2019

Mayor Boult, Councillors, Community Board Members, Ladies & Gentlemen.  

As you are no doubt aware, membership of our group has expanded rapidly in recent weeks, as more and more people become aware of the detail around the redevelopment of Wanaka Airport.  The more they learn, the more concerned they become, and with good reason.  

We are cautiously encouraged by the Mayor’s special announcement at the beginning of this meeting this morning.  However, you would expect us to say that much more detail is required for us to understand and comment on it, which we will do in due course.  Our members’ requirements remain the same: we want full and proper community consultation and real involvement in the plans for any future development of Wanaka airport.

Yes, this is about the future of our community (we agree about that), and managing change and growth (we also agree about that), but in a way which best serves all of us.  This is also about local democracy.

[This paragraph was not read out due to time constraints, but is included here: What we are hearing time and time again is that they were not consulted about the decisions which are now being made by Council, and by QAC.  We are hearing that this is not what they want. We are hearing that they are deeply concerned about a lack of transparency, consultation and community focus.  They are telling us that they are frustrated with the failure by council to consult fully with the people of Wanaka and the Upper Clutha on the expanded future operation of the airport at Wanaka.]

As at late last night, we now have 2,150 members.  That makes us the single biggest group of any description in Wanaka.  We are still growing. New members sign up every few minutes.

We don’t just gather signatures from people randomly.  We give them information about the proposed airport development, answer any questions they have (as far as we can), and then only if they want to add their voice, do they agree to sign up.  At that stage, we ask for some information from them so that we know exactly who we are representing – and that you, in turn, can have clarity about that.

As at today:

  • Over 82% of our members either live in this community, or are non-resident ratepayers here.  In other words, they are your constituents.
  • 80% live in Wanaka, Albert Town, Luggate or Hawea.  Two thirds live in Wanaka.
  • One in five of our members either owns a business or runs one.  So currently we know that we represent over 315 local business people who have specifically identified themselves as such.  We’ve only been asking this question for the last month or so, and so extrapolating out our data with the same percentage, we suspect that the true number is more like 475 business people who are members of our group as at today.

As you have just heard, we are also fully supported and endorsed by the community associations of Hawea, Luggate, Mt Barker and Albert Town.  Those organisations represent communities with a combined population of over 3,500 people.

A handful of people in the community have questioned our right to ask questions.  In fact we know that some of our elected representatives here today question our legitimacy.  Today we are emailing you our org chart and key statistics about our membership. It will be with you in a few minutes.  We are operating with full transparency about our team and membership. We now ask you to afford our members the same courtesy about the issues surrounding Wanaka Airport.

Thank you.

[Submission presented by Mark Sinclair, Deputy Chair]

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