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The runway extension- at what cost?

July 27, 2016

imageSubmissions are now open until 12 August 2016, for you to have your say on the runway extension resource consent, which is to go to the Environment Court.

It is important to note that if you do not make a submission now, mentioning the points on which you wish to submit, and whether or not you wish to appear before the Court in person, you will not have a further opportunity to speak.

So far, I have not so far voted for any rates to be used on this project. To be honest, the more I am finding out, the more questions I have about its value to ratepayers. Yes, of course, all things being equal, we would like a longer runway. It would provide better safety margins, and perhaps? more options for long haul.

But the question really does have to be asked- at what cost? Are there more pressing demands for that money? Or should we just save on rates and let people decide how they would personally like to spend the money they keep? After all, most of us can get where we want to go by air now, either travelling though Auckland or via Nadi, or Sydney, Melbourne, Brisbane and soon Canberra.

The letter from WCC and GWRC, publicly available on the GWRC site, makes interesting reading. Various, quite crucial issues are raised and further information is sought. For example:

Post construction stormwater discharges- What will be the cumulative effects on the aquatic ecosystem, biodiversity, mahinga kai and Maori customary use?

Noise-It is not appropriate to use the existing high level of airport noise as “ambient noise” when assessing the “background plus” impact of construction noise (which will be 24/7 for four years).

Amenity effects-including safety of large trucks (up to 30 per hour day and night) on residential streets such as Vivien Street, Wellington Road, Lyall Parade, Onepu Road, Rongotai Road, Evans Bay Parade. The method of assessing visual amenity needs more work.

Negative impacts on surf are proposed to be mitigated with a surf wave focusing structure, however further baseline monitoring of surf impacts is required.

Recreational amenity- there will be a four year exclusion zone around the construction site, encompassing a large area of Lyall Bay and Moa point. The method of assessing the current recreational amenity of Lyall Bay over a 7 day period in March is identified as very limited.

No detailed investigations of ground conditions has been undertaken yet, so construction methods are not certain. There are no details on ongoing maintenance requirements and how they might be carried out, including maintenance of the to-be-buried section of the Moa Point outfall pipe.

Effects on the breeding colony of nationally endangered reef heron and other coastal birds, and the effects of sediment on little blue penguins require more work.

If you are concerned (or conversely if you are in favour) , I do urge you to have your say. information and submission forms are on the GWRC website- or you can contact me via a text message if you live in the eastern suburbs and would like a form delivered.

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