Queenstown Airport has announced plans to significantly expand its noise boundaries into large residential areas and almost double the aircraft movements the present boundaries allow, by 2045.
The company launched a five-week public consultation yesterday to give residents living within the suggested boundaries, including Lake Hayes Estate and Kelvin Heights, an opportunity to respond to major changes proposed as part of its master plan.
The Queenstown Airport Corporation (QAC) also proposed expanding its noise mitigation programme to other properties that would be affected by the changes and called for revisions to be made to the Queenstown Lakes District Council's district plan.
Queenstown Airport chief executive Colin Keel said ''the noise won't just happen. It will be an incremental increase over the next 30 or so years.''
''More homeowners are impacted because more residents would be living within the outer control boundary.
''Getting the right balance is essential.''
The airport wants to accommodate its predicted growth by planning for 41,600 scheduled aircraft movements a year by 2045, an average of 114 a day.
This would mean more than doubling annual passenger movements (counting both arrivals and departures) from about 2.05 million to about 5.1 million.
The present noise boundaries allow for 21,000 scheduled aircraft movements each year.
Forecasts show this number will be reached in the next three to four years.
The outer control noise boundary would be extended to cover large residential areas, including properties surrounding Frankton Rd and parts of Kelvin Heights, Lake Hayes Estate and Shotover Country.
More than 3000 additional houses would be located between the proposed outer boundary and the airnoise boundary (ANB) around the airport.
QAC proposed buying the 34 houses within the proposed boundary immediately surrounding the airport, which would contain the highest noise levels.
The company said it would also offer full funding for mechanical ventilation and insulation to be installed in houses between this boundary and the proposed ANB.
Benefits the airport said would result from its growth included a predicted $596million for Otago's GDP by 2045, thousands of job opportunities and less pressure on regional roads.
Glyn Lewers, chairman of the Frankton Community Association, said the ''devil is in the detail''.
''It is all about the implications the noise boundaries will have on existing houses.
''It depends on the details and their definition of what a non-complying activity is between those boundaries.''
The proposed changes would have to be adopted as part of the council's district plan before the airport could fully implement its plan.
Changes to the district plan proposed by the airport include updated rules to avoid new activities sensitive to aircraft noise within the proposed boundaries.
Mr Keel added that the airport played a key role in connecting the region with the rest of the country and the world.
''The proposal to change the airport's noise boundaries should advance this important conversation about our future.''
The airport has not proposed changing its operating hours of 6am to 10pm.
The consultation, which includes six community drop-in sessions across the affected area, will close on August 20.
To take part visit our.queenstownairport.com.
- Otago Daily Times