Tarras airport proposal rejected by 74% of Upper Clutha residents survey finds [RNZ, 12/02/21]

Photo: RNZ / Timothy Brown

Three-quarters of Upper Clutha residents are against a proposed international airport at Tarras.

In July, Christchurch Airport shocked the small rural Central Otago settlement by announcing it had bought up $45 million of farmland in the area in the hope of building a jet-capable runway.

A survey of more than 1200 people in nearby Wānaka and the surrounding area has found 74 percent oppose the plan, with environmental effects the biggest concern.

The Wānaka Stakeholders Group, which opposes Wānaka Airport’s development, carried out the survey which included 366 responses from business people in the area and residents from settlements throughout the Upper Clutha plus some from Tarras.

Group chair Michael Ross said the results were “clear and emphatic”.

“The time has long since passed when the Upper Clutha community will sit back and allow airport companies to determine the future of our local infrastructure and environment, aided and actively supported by councils that place commercial interests above community interests, play down community concerns and even blatantly ignore them,” Ross said.

He called on central government to show bold leadership and “ensure that sound decisions are made around airport development, national infrastructure and controls on inbound tourism”.

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