The Whangārei District Council will move closer to protecting the future use of its chosen new $150 million airport site from July.
Three sites at Ruatangata west, Ruatangata and One Tree Point west were identified by the district council for a potential new airport.
Public consultation about the development will start on April 20 and run until May 25. Whangārei's existing airport in Onerahi has been added into the mix by the council as a fourth consultation option.
On June 30, after feedback from the community, the council will then decide which option to investigate further - if a new site is selected.
Further technical assessments are needed before a final location, its details and land requirement are able to be confirmed - subject to funding, the council says.
Formal planning and design are scheduled to start in July and run into the next decade, according to the consultation document.
"If council decides to elect options one, two or three there will be early engagement with landowners and any other affected parties," the document says.
Further work would be undertaken to look at the site's broad and specific effects.
"Further statutory public consultation will take place as part of a designation process for the land and there will be an opportunity for the public to make submissions and be heard by decision-makers."
The document stated several years of work would be needed to design ownership models for the operation, including government contributions for funding and/or ownership. If the airport goes ahead airport design and construction would be needed.
In addition, engagement with landowners and other affected parties would start "early" if the council chose one of the three new sites.
Documentation formally signed off by the council on Thursday ahead of the April 20 consultation start date includes site maps for each of three shortlisted new locations - selected from among an original 28 - and an Onerahi airport location map.
The maps are general representations of each new site and the surrounding area. The information is part of the consultation material available on the district council's website from April 20 alongside the Have Your Say form.
The consultation maps show simplified red spots identifying the potential footprint of the new airport for each of the three locations. Half a dozen bullet-pointed facts outline council "what we know" features. These cover how far the site is from Whangārei city centre, surrounding population, travel to and from the airport, any sites of officially scheduled cultural significance or heritage, geology and infrastructure considerations.
Each map also has nine key considerations that include potential impacts on surrounding neighbours and local roads; water and hydrology, potential wetlands and waterways; local native fauna - kiwi, lizards or bats; conservation areas, flooding risk, urban growth and geology.
• A 21km drive from Whangārei city centre.
• More than 64,000 people within 30 minutes drive of the site - round trips to the airport would be easy.
• No officially scheduled sites of cultural significance or heritage sites, although the council has been advised of the importance of the Wairua River to hapū.
• Suitable geology means less intensive engineering is needed to make the site suitable for development.
• Site unlikely to have major impacts on existing infrastructure such as existing major roads, power pylons or three waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater).
• Potential impacts on nearby Ruatangata west village include noise from airport operations and flight path, lighting and traffic.
• Potential impacts on Hodge Rd.
• Site borders the Hikurangi flood plain and Wairua River which may limit future development or expansion of the airport and its precinct.
• Several streams and potential wetlands along with freshwater mussels would need to be managed in line with national policy.
• May be home to kiwi, native bats, lizards and other birds.
• Protected conservation areas including the Wairua River and Hodge Rd dam would need to be carefully considered.
The site's airport flight path/runway orientation is expected to be broadly southwest to northeast, allowing for some variation due to mountains and other factors. The airport footprint is oval, and runs at right angles to and is roughly equally dissected by Hodge Rd.
• A 17km drive from Whangārei city centre.
• More than 64,000 people live within 30 minutes drive of the site making a round trip to the airport easy.
• No officially scheduled sites of cultural significance or heritage sites.
• The most suitable geology of the three new sites, meaning less intensive engineering needed to make site suitable for development.
• Unlikely to have major impacts on existing infrastructure such as existing major roads, power pylons or three waters (drinking water, wastewater and stormwater).
• Potential impacts on Matarau School and nearby Comrie Park kindergarten as well as lifestyle blocks in that area. They are among the locations, also including Roydon Dr, where residents may be affected by noise from airport operations and flight paths.
• Local roading impacts including to Kokopu Rd and Attwood Rd.
• Patuwairua Stream may be home to several species such as kākahi, longfin eels and freshwater crabs.
• A number of potential wetlands and streams in the area including Patuwairua Stream would need to be managed in line with national policy.
• May be home to native flora and fauna including bats, lizards and birds. Mangere River - a protected conservation area.
• The site's airport flight path/runway orientation is expected to be broadly southwest to northeast, allowing for some variation due to mountains and other factors.
• Airport footprint is semi-oval. It roughly fits into the southeast corner of Kokopu and Pipiwai roads.
One Tree Point west site
• About a 33km drive from Whangārei city centre.
• More than 50,000 people live within a 20 to 30-minute drive to the site meaning the airport would be easy to travel to and from.
• Land nearby is already zoned light industrial which could enable future industrial development around the airport.
• The area is well connected to Northport and freight rail infrastructure which both have long-term planned upgrades.
• Potential impacts including noise from airport operations and flight paths on One Tree Point, Ruakākā and Marsden Point residents.
• Poupouwhenua (Marsden/Ruakākā) is an area of cultural significance. Two scheduled culturally significant sites close to the airport location. Takahiwai Marae of Patuharakeke is located to west of proposed airport site.
• Council's growth strategy has identified this location as a high growth area for future development, including residential.
• The area is susceptible to flooding. Any potential impacts to major roads including One Tree Point Rd and Pyle Rd East. Some watercourses in the area.
• May be potential wetlands that would need to be managed in line with national policy.
• Surrounding area is home to native flora and fauna including bats, birds and lizards which may visit the site.
• The site geology may need significant engineering to make it suitable for development.
• The site's airport flight path/runway orientation expected to be broadly northwest to the southeast, allowing for some variation due to mountains and other factors.
• The airport footprint is oval and runs at right angles and over the top of part of One Tree Point Rd and Pyle Rd East.
• WDC has provided no information about how far the airport is from the city centre
- it is 8km.
• WDC has provided no estimate of how many people are within 30 minutes' drive of the site.
• The airport has the shortest runway Air New Zealand currently uses. Only allowed to operate because of Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) allowance. A longer runway is likely needed for future regional aircraft types. Possible future CAA rules tightening.
• Medium to long term implications includes the potential inability to operate airfield for regional commercial services.
• Local and regional implications if Air New Zealand could not operate from the airport. Several CAA non-compliant aspects.
Estimations about the full scale of each site's airport flight paths will be available at three consultation drop-in meetings or on the WDC website once the consultation starts on Wednesday.
The two-hour drop-in meetings are from 4.30pm on May 2 at the Ruakākā recreation centre; May 5 at Ruatangata hall, and May 12 at Forum North, Whangārei.
Submission hearings are on June 9 followed by deliberations on June 21.
The maps are available in the council agenda from the extraordinary meeting on April 14. The agenda can be found here.
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