Airport updates not full picture, critics say [Otago Daily Times, 22/12/20]
Tarras community and Christchurch Airport representatives are at odds over how many “conversations” have taken place regarding the planned international airport in Central Otago.
Sustainable Tarras representative Chris Goddard has questioned the number of people mentioned in a project update newsletter from Christchurch International Airport Ltd (CIAL) entitled “The Journey Ahead” sent out earlier this month.
In it, CIAL project director Michael Singleton said representatives from the Christchurch City Council-owned company had now had conversations with more than 100 people in and around Tarras regarding the potential to create an airport on the 750ha, $45million site it announced in July.
“Again, I’m grateful to have been welcomed into many homes and that so many have taken the time to give us honest feedback.”
There was a range of views emerging, from support for the project’s potential to concern as well as many questions and requests for more information, he said.
Mr Goddard said he was surprised the update did not mention the people and families strongly against the proposal.
“Some families in our four recent local community meetings mentioned they had put out a number of requests for engagement and had not yet heard back.”
That included direct neighbours to the CIAL property, as well as long-term residents inside the likely flight paths, he said.
“We’d expect meeting with the most impacted families and nearest neighbours would be a priority for the project.”
However, an airport spokeswoman believed anyone who had requested a meeting had been granted one.
There were several ways people could make contact, and CIAL had made it made clear the process of engagement was ongoing, she said.
“We’re aware some people may not want to meet us — and that’s OK.”