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Getting Stewart Duff Drive back

October 5, 2013

I recently received via email some questions about the proposed runway extension from a concerned Miramar resident. I’ve reprinted the questions and my answers below:

1. Do you personally support the plans for a runway extension at Wellington airport?

I cannot support an airport extension at this stage. I think there is a lot that needs to be queried about the existing relationship between Infratil and Wellington City Council, including why WCC did not manage to sucessfully advocate to keep the public vehicle access in both directions along Stewart Duff Drive. I would also like to better understand the basis on which the dividend to the city for its existing 34% share of WIAL is calculated, and why Infratil seems to think it can ask the City to contribute $200 million while it is only prepared to contribute $100 million. This is at a time when Infratil is flush with money and is talking about investing in new baggage handling facilities and a new cafe (see their 2013 annual report)
Until we have a stronger negotiating position, the Council needs to hold onto some bargaining chips. See my post on the topic

   

2.How much more air traffic and noise will this bring to the Miramar peninsula?

My understanding is that the proposed one extra flight per day will not make much difference to the existing noise levels- some of the more modern planes that might fly the long haul route are actually quieter than the current planes. Of course, eventually the plan would be for more than one flight, and for the airport to be generally busier.

3. Are there plans to extend air traffic into the night time?

I believe the answer to this is NO. The fly time curfew does appear to be very strictly upheld.

4.How will Miramar cope with the extended amount of car traffic that is to be expected? 

This is a very interesting question. The traffic effects will probably be most severe along SH1, in Strathmore (as people seek alternative parking) and at the airport itself. I have been at the airport twice in recent days, once to collect a passenger and once to drop off. The new car-parking arrangements are currently a complete debacle. To find a car park, collect my passengers, load their luggage, pay for my ticket and then exit cost $7 for just over 30 minutes. It was not a happy or relaxed welcome to Wellington. The following day, I did manage to drop off my passengers in just under 10 minutes so didn’t have to pay. But it was stressful…

I hope that gives you a picture of my position on the airport.

If I am elected to Council I will do my best to get back unimpeded public access in both directions along Stewart Duff Drive. I will also seek to get some legal and financial advice on the City’s position, so we have a clearer idea of our bargaining power when it comes to matters such as parking and how the airport chooses to invest in its infrastructure.

I would like to say that I am not totally opposed to extending the airport ever, but it has to be under circumstances that make it a clear WIN for all of Wellington, with the environmental and other impacts costed and mitigated, a clear business case, and the City’s  contributions commensurate with its financial share in the airport company.

 

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