Scoop – Surfers opposing runway extension, defending Lyall Bay

Originally published on Scoop News from WPW The Surfbreak Protection Society, New Zealand’s national surfers’ environmental organisation, is opposing Wellington Airport’s application for resource consent to extend its runway because of the impact it will have on surfing and the surfing environment on Wellington’s South Coast. Michael Gunson of the SPS says community groups, local businesses and individuals need to get informed about the proposed extension and what it could mean to their quality of life. “This project will unfortunately not return the benefits that the Airport and the City Council are promoting. Given the events of the last week, it is even more important that a project of this size, which is heavily reliant on public funding to get it across the line, is put under proper scrutiny. Something that has not happened yet. “In addition to the worrying economic figures that came out of the Greater Wellington Regional Council’s report last month, saying that the estimated cost of the extension would be $428m but likely to rise to almost $500m, compared to the Airport’s estimation of $300m, SPS are focusing their concerns on the impacts to the surfing at Lyall Bay. “Both the Greater Wellington Regional Council and Read More …

RE-BLOG WELLINGTON SCOOP: Runway extension report: concerns on noise, environment, surfing, fishing

Link here. The Regional Council last week released a 165-page staff report analysing Wellington Airport’s application for permission to extend its runway. The report, on the airport’s resource consent application, confirms that of the 776 submissions received, 527 were against the runway extension, 227 were in support of it (either in full or in part), and there were 18 neutral submissions and four conditional. The airport is seeking permission for reclamation work to be carried out seven days a week, 24 hours a day. The proposed construction programme indicates that reclamation filling could take between 5 and 18 months depending on the source of material. The entire project will take up to four years. The report refers to 310 trucks per day taking loads from quarries to the reclamation site: Traffic emissions during construction will arise from trucks transporting fill material to the construction zones at the airport and construction vehicles at the airport construction site…The applicant considers that it is unlikely that there will be any measurable changes in vehicle related combustion emissions from 310 trucks per day…. [An expert] has advised that the covering of loads is “best practice and will satisfactorily mitigate potential fugitive dust over the Read More …

MEDIA RELEASE: No plan B leaves Wellington ratepayers exposed over airport extension proposal.

“Wellington City Council has no Plan B to protect Wellington’s ratepayers if the Wellington Airport Extension doesn’t deliver,” according to business, recreational, community and environmental groups who are calling for more rigour around the proposal. The Guardians of the Bays, a citizen-led umbrella organisation representing a growing number of groups of businesses and individuals who are concerned the runway extension will not deliver the benefits being promised by Wellington International Airport Limited and some City Councillors. Co-chairs Dr Sea Rotmann and Richard Randerson said the airport is being presented to the public as Wellington’s main economic growth option. “We are all keen on a progressive and successful Wellington. But the numbers being put up for this proposal simply don’t stack up. “The Council has promised $90 million of ratepayer money, on top of $3 million already handed over to the airport, for a runway extension that has no business case. The Airport has refused to put its numbers under the scrutiny of the Government’s own Better Business Case process, which is required for getting Central Government funding.” “Economically, the runway extension has the potential to lump Wellington ratepayers with a wasteful and unnecessary White Elephant requiring significant ratepayer subsidies and Read More …

NEWS Dom Post: Wellington Airport has no ‘Plan B’ if $300m runway extension fails to fly

By Michael Forbes  Wellington Airport says it has no “Plan B” in place if its proposed runway extension fails to get off the ground. Airport representatives have told Wellington city councillors they do not expect the $300 million project to have any problems getting resource consent. But if it doesn’t fly, there are no contingency plans. “You either build the runway extension or you don’t, airport chief executive Steve Sanderson said on Tuesday. The project’s main opposition group, Guardians of the Bays, has revealed it already has a dozen technical experts lined up to testify against the project in the Environment Court. It is preparing a community fightback similar to the movement that killed off the Basin Reserve flyover in 2014, and its members predict the airport’s “arrogance” will come back to bite it. The airport wants to extend its runway south by 354 metres to allow for direct long-haul flights to Asia, and possibly the United States. It expects the project will be publicly notified by the Environment Court at the end of the week, with a resource consent hearing likely in February 2017. Sanderson told councillors to expect plenty of “shooting down” of the project by various groups over the coming months, Read More …

RE-BLOG KEITH JOHNSON: CentrePort Proposals to Scour Wellington Berths and Dredge Wellington Harbour Mouth need proper Multi-Criteria Appraisal

JUST BIGGER IS BETTER AS FAR AS TRAFFIC IS CONCERNED? By Keith Johnson While road transport increasingly grinds to a halt in Wellington and road rage is becoming common, partly consequent on Wellington City Council’s dog-in-the-manger approach to investment in roads, the Bigger is Better philosophy is receiving ringing endorsement from local authorities with respect to the aviation and maritime shipping industries. Much has been published on this website about Wellington International Airport’s Runway Extension Project – including an article by Dr Sea Rotmann which draws attention to the massive contribution of air travel worldwide to CO2 emissions. Maritime transport is also a major emitter. In this respect, Wellington Regional Council should be insisting upon a proper Multi-Criteria Assessment of the proposed dredging of Wellington Harbour by CentrePort. http://www.stuff.co.nz/business/industries/79692673/CentrePort-reveals-details-of-plans-to-dredge-7km-channel-in-Wellington-Harbour A Multi-Criteria Assessment would cover all dimensions of a major public investment: Cost-Benefit Analysis [including the Business Case] Economic Impacts Environmental and Safety Impacts Social and Distributional Impacts With the whole to be concluded with an over-arching summary of redlines and trade-offs. Looking at the current situation, the parallels between the CentrePort proposal and the Runway Extension Project are very interesting: Doubts about financial viability Optimistic multiplier-based ‘economic’ rather than business Read More …

The Dominion Post Opinion: Airport extension will affect us all

OPINION: Evan’s Bay is an iconic part of the Wellington harbour “blue belt”. Stormy days have their own wild beauty, while in sunny times the water is dotted with sails, recreational anglers hang out their lines, and swimmers, cyclists and walkers soak up the warmth and the ambience. Pods of orcas and other fish cruise up the deep water channel by the Miramar wharf where an airport runway extension is now proposed. In July 100 residents from the eastern suburbs attended a meeting to express their concern about a proposal that will have a serious impact on one of Wellington’s major natural assets. The extension into Evans Bay will be both long and wide, as taxi-ing and turn-around space are also required. The height could be 10-12 metres above sea level, and with a water depth of around 17 metres huge quantities of fill will be needed, with consequent damage to the natural environment and fish spawning grounds. This is not just an issue for the eastern suburbs. It will hit all Wellington ratepayers in the back pocket as they are asked to stump up $200 million (plus interest) of the estimated $300m cost. But how firm is that estimate? Read More …