At a Shaping Our Futures forum in September 2018, participants were asked what characterises our community and what were their aspirations for the community. Answers for the first included peaceful, welcoming, vibrant, passionate and community centred. Answers for the second included liveable, peaceful, connected and community.
They were then asked what obstacles they thought might block these aspirations. The resounding answer was, the airport. That was a "penny drop" moment for urban planners and architects David Jerram and Gillian Macleod. It caused them to consider how they might help achieve the community's aspirations and how Frankton might look if the airport was relocated.
The community response to Queenstown Airport Corporation's proposal in September 2018 to expand its noise boundaries was another "penny drop" moment. With 1,500 submissions, the largest ever, feeding into QAC's public consultation, there was a resounding 92.5% opposed.
The "business as usual" presumption of growth had been directly challenged by people from all sectors of our community.
These penny drop moments caused us, a small group of local residents, to question the inevitability of growth and of the current location of the airport. We engaged in some 'blue sky thinking' to look outside the box. We researched and investigated. What we found surprised us.
Our investigation indicated that relocating the airport would have significant positive effects across almost all sectors. It would be better for Frankton, the Wakatipu, Wanaka, and the region. Better for the community, tourism, local transport, the environment, and global climate change. Better financially for housing affordability, for ratepayers, for the airlines, and for Queenstown Airport Corporation.
So how come, we wondered, that this wasn't obvious to everyone? Partly, we expect, because change from the status quo seldom is. But also because unravelling the financial and other benefits and costs of an option that is never discussed and is not favoured by QLDC or QAC is not easy.
So we undertook to start the conversation. At a public meeting hosted by both the Frankton and the Kelvin Heights Community Associations, we first presented the idea on 29 March 2019. Through this website, through articles in the media, and through discussion, we seek to engage with the broader community. We are not prescriptive and don't presume we know the right outcome or path forward. We focus our efforts on evidence, logic and deepening of our collective understanding of the many aspects involved. We hope through this that our choices will be wiser and that the community's aspirations developed in the Shaping Our Futures forum might have better chance of fulfilment.
Link straight to what interests you most.
The airport growth forecasts, the financial case comparing the two strategies, our vision for Frankton, where could the airport go?, why are we at a tipping point? What do we mean by a fractured Wakatipu? What's the safety angle?, Why we became involved?, Who/what is FlightPlan2050?
Or maybe you’d like to read a little satire outlining a vision for New Wanaka that helps illustrate what’s at stake. We’re asking you to help us wake up the frog!
Use the links below to learn more