This video was released on 27th December 2019. It aims to get people talking about the future of the Upper Clutha community, particularly in light of recent moves by QLDC and QAC in relation to our community airport at Luggate.
Below we have provided some initial notes and a full copy of the script, plus footnotes showing our sources. We know that this will generate discussion and interest.
Very importantly if you’d like to stay informed of developments, add your voice, or just register your concern, please join the 3,000+ existing members of Wanaka Stakeholders Group Inc. by signing up online. It is free, and takes about a minute. Sign up here.
This brief animated video was created over the last month by the team at Animation Research alongside Wanaka Stakeholders Group. The aim of the video is to raise awareness and stimulate discussion about key issues surrounding the future of Wanaka – specifically the planned development of Wanaka Airport into a jet capable airport for the district.
The video is based on publicly available information (such as who has effective control of the airport, how much money will be invested developing it into a jet capable airport, current orientation of the runway, new runway length limits, key requirements of commercial airports etc) as well as expert input from industry professionals on key matters (jet arrival and departure flight paths based on industry norms and local geography, how the stated investment translates into numbers of jet flights required to provide an industry average commercial return, most likely positioning of airport buildings, likely impact on traffic flows etc).
We know that some of the very specific detail (eg eventual shape, size and positioning of the terminal building) will be challenged by QLDC, QAC and others, and focussing on the finer detail may be a diversion tactic for those who are pro-expansion. Our aim here is not to predict the terminal shape, or to guess the exact number of buildings. Rather, it is to show the scale and potential of this airport, based on all the information we currently have to hand as well as expert advice or opinion, to get people thinking about the likely impacts of such an airport.
It is our view, and the view of our members, that before anything else happens, the community should be involved – front and centre – in deciding the future of Wanaka Airport.
If you feel the same way and have not yet added your voice to our member base, please join us here.
[Footnotes are added in brackets like this: (1), and you will find the further detail below under “Detailed footnotes”]
This place we call home is unrivalled for its majestic beauty and breathtaking tranquility. That’s why people journey from all over the world to visit us, and also why many of us have chosen to call it home.
Wanaka is changing – all good things do eventually. Right now we have an opportunity – as a community – to come together, have our say and have real input into shaping Wanaka’s future.
We’re now the fastest growing district in New Zealand (1), with the Upper Clutha projected to almost double in population again in the next 20 years (2). And with that extreme growth comes opportunities, but also all sorts of thorny challenges which as a community we’ll have to navigate carefully together.
Despite this projected growth, our council has effectively sold our local airport to Queenstown Airport Corporation recently, giving them full control over its future (3). They in turn have bought neighbouring land (4), so that the total footprint is twice the size of the footprint of Queenstown Airport.
Like all airport companies, they are motivated by profit and volume. QAC have said they’ll spend $400m (5) developing it into a jet capable airport. And with that kind of investment, based on industry standards, they’ll need a lot of flight movements every day to get a return on investment. (6)
In the next few years, Wanaka airport is likely to become much bigger and busier than Queenstown’s is now (7), and what most people don’t realise is that once you have a jet capable runway, QAC will easily justify the need for more and more jets. In fact, it will become very hard to stop this.
We need to think long and hard about whether this is what we want for the Upper Clutha, because once we let this happen in the middle of our incredible basin, there will be no turning back.
This is a once in a lifetime opportunity to make the right decision for our community, and be in control of our own future. Our decisions today will last a lifetime.
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We will keep adding to these notes as questions are raised over time.