One-delegate rule for airport focus groups annoys [ODT, 13/02/20]

Community groups in and around Wanaka are unhappy only one representative from each can attend focus groups on plans for Wanaka Airport.

Community groups have the option of attending focus groups run by consulting firm MartinJenkins next week.

The first is at the Lake Wanaka Centre from 5pm to 7pm on Monday, the second from 5-7pm on Tuesday at St Mary’s Presbyterian Church in Frankton.

However, the Otago Daily Times understands other focus groups will be held.

MartinJenkins was commissioned by the Queenstown Lakes District Council to produce economic and social impact assessments related to development of the airport.

Wanaka Stakeholders Group (WSG) chairman Michael Ross labelled the process ‘‘patently ridiculous’’ on Tuesday.

The WSG leads opposition to development of the airport for jet traffic and had written to MartinJenkins expressing concerns. Those included reservations about the impact assessment, and a process that was defined by ‘‘secrecy and little or no communication’’ and was ‘‘rushed, biased and most likely predetermined’’.

Other key factors included environmental impact, lack of transparency and a pending judicial review filed in the High Court last year.

‘‘While the consultants have been talking to big tourism businesses for some time, it is only now, at the 11th hour, that community groups are being included.’’

Mr Ross labelled this as a ‘‘box-ticking exercise’’.

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