Christchurch council-backed airport plan sparks concern among city’s elected reps [Stuff, 30/04/21]

new airport being proposed for Central Otago farmland by a Christchurch City Council-owned company may soon face formal pushback – from its own councillors.

City councillors are set to vote on whether they have concerns about the cost and climate change impact of the proposed “world-class sustainable airport” over 750ha of land in Tarras, Otago.

It would be the first formal position taken by the council on the proposed airport.

Christchurch International Airport, which is 75 per cent owned by the Christchurch City Council, announced the airport project in July last year.

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At a meeting of the council’s finance committee on Thursday, councillor Yani Johanson proposed adding an amendment noting the council was concerned about the airport’s strategic direction.

Johanson said he had a number of concerns about the new airport, although other councillors have backed away from his amendment.

The vote will take place on May 13 and requires support from a majority of councillors to pass.

The vote was pushed back on Thursday because staff from holding company Christchurch City Holdings Ltd (CCHL) were not available to answer questions.

CCHL was established to create a non-political buffer between the council and its trading businesses.

Councillors James Gough, Sara Templeton and Andrew Turner, along with Mayor Lianne Dalziel, are on the board. Gough said the four of them would not be able to vote on the amendment.

Johanson said it was bizarre the council had not had a say in the Tarras proposal.

He was concerned about putting the airport “in the middle of the countryside” and the economic impact of that.

“The idea that we would build a massive new international airport at a time when we’ve got a climate change emergency … raises really a big question.”

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