Friday, 21st February, 2020

Call to Action: The Chamber board and CEO recommend that our members (and their staff) undertake the Airport Impact Assessments online survey by March 11, 2020.

I am sharing the writing duties today with the Chamber board chair, Craig Douglas. The future of our local airport has been much debated in recent times. We have a member 'call-to-action' that we would like you to consider and wish to outline the Chamber's thoughts with respect to the social and economic impact assessments of the airport being undertaken by MartinJenkins on behalf of QLDC.

The role of the airport is vital to our community and economy. We must plan for population and visitor growth so that we get the best outcomes for people, business and the environment. Infrastructure planning is essential in this process, and the Chamber is keen to ensure that the lessons of the past are incorporated into future plans. As a consequence, your Chamber board feel that it is essential that the opinion of the business community is expressed in the Airport Impact Assessments survey and ask that you complete the survey by March 11, 2020.

A Chamber representative was unable to attend the Queenstown focus group meetings held this week as all the Chamber board and executive were undertaking annual strategic planning. We have requested an invitation to another focus group meeting and this request has been granted. It is our intention to represent the business community at this meeting.

For those of you who are feeling somewhat confused about this email (or this issue) or wish to understand more about why these Airport Impact Assessments are important, we have written a short briefing for you below. Please feel free to ring Anna Mickell if you wish to discuss any matter in more details.

If you feel inclined to contribute to this process, please put your thinking cap on, pull up a comfy chair and start the survey here. It would be great if you could let us know if you have completed the survey by emailing ceo@queenstownchamber.org.nz with COMPLETED in the subject line.

The Chamber continues to support initiatives that seek to encourage respectful and informed conversations to address the complex issue of growth, as well as working on ways to mitigate harm. The Chamber will actively participate in these conversations and encourage its members to take the opportunity to engage in consultation on such important issues. The business community’s voice is vital to ensure a balanced conversation.

Kind regards
Anna Mickell (CEO) and Craig Douglas (Board Chair)

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AIRPORT SOCIAL AND ECONOMIC IMPACT ASSESSMENTS

What’s the background?

Queenstown Airport (QAC) is required to operate under a QLDC approved annual Statement of Intent. Despite several attempts in 2019, QAC was unable to present a Statement of Intent that was acceptable to the majority of the (last term) QLDC councillors. The new council, elected in October 2019, approved, in December 2019, the SOI presented in August 2019. Mayor Boult announced (in August 2019) five actions that QLDC would undertake to move these planning processes forward. Three of these five action points considered undertaking social and economic impact analysis to inform the planning process. It is worth reading his comments here.

You can do the Airport Impact Assessments survey here.

Late last year

Consultant company MartinJenkins was engaged by QLDC in the last quarter of 2019 to design and deliver research on the economic and social impact of the airport/s on the district. During the exploration phase of the research design, representatives from the MartinJenkins approached the Chamber and explained their brief and sought background information. The Chamber CEO and board chair expressed surprise at the proposed timeline, suggesting that we did not think that, given the enormous complexity and community concern, it was enough to provide members with the opportunity to consider and respond. We acknowledged the need for expediency, however, did not think this should be at the expense of meaningful and authentic stakeholder engagement.

Now that these tight timelines have been confirmed, our challenge is to make the best of the opportunity to present the views of the business community.

This month

Martin Jenkins invited one representative from many organisations to a focus group meeting to discuss four, hypothetical, scenarios and launched, on 20th of February, an online survey for personal responses. The four hypothetical scenarios are outlined below. Please note that these scenarios are just that – hypothetical. The consultants are asking you to consider the social and economic elements of each option.

Scenario One – Status quo
Scenario Two – Expanded noise boundaries at Queenstown Airport
Scenario Three – Dual airport: scheduled air services to Queenstown and Wanaka
Scenario Four – New international airport