OPINION: THE AIRPORT’S DISREGARD OF PUBLIC SAFETY IS COMING UNDER SCRUTINY – YET AGAIN

A little over week ago, a white Subaru got washed off the Moa Point breakwater by a ‘rogue’ wave. Some reports said the car’s occupants were fishing “at the popular fishing spot”, whilst eye (and social media) witnesses said that 3 people were actually inside the car when the wave struck them. They had to smash their way out through the windows and were lucky to get out of the wild ocean alive. This is not the first time a car was swept off that breakwater, and people have died there in the past, according to locals. An airport spokeswoman wrongly claimed that the metal safety barrier had “recently been damaged by the storm or vandalised”. Now, that ‘barrier’ has long been broken, and the breakwater safety sorely neglected by the airport. As with the entire southern end of the runway, the breakwater is an eyesore full of dangerous rocks, akmons and crevices and open to the pounding southerly waves. We can often watch giant waves break over the entire runway end and the breakwater, with holes spurting water several metres high. We also often watch people fishing off the breakwater, including taking their vehicles up there. Most fishermen aren’t Read More …

RE-BLOG WELLINGTON SCOOP: 60 trucks an hour: sleep disturbance and health issues during runway construction

by Lindsay Shelton, October 11, 2016. Link here. A report from the Wellington City Council identifies a “worst case scenario” if only trucks are used to carry the rocks needed to build a longer runway at Wellington Airport. The report, prepared by the council for the airport’s resource consent application, says that 252 people sent submissions that were concerned about traffic during the four year construction period, and 202 people were concerned about noise. The council report states: The Project has the potential to generate adverse noise effects given the scale of works proposed, the duration of the construction project, and the proposed night-time construction works. In addition, the Project proposes road haulage of fill during off-peak periods (9.30am-2.30pm, and 10pm-6.00am) during weekdays, which will generate traffic noise effects on properties along the haulage route. The applicant has provided a Construction Noise Assessment … which assesses the noise effects associated with constructing the runway extension, and the land-based transportation of construction materials (including fill) to the site. The report also identifies measures to mitigate such noise. A noise expert has reviewed the airport’s proposal and has found that The Project includes a construction duration of 48 months (or greater), and Read More …

RE-BLOG SURFBREAK PROTECTION SOCIETY: Wellington Airport Calling the Tune on Lyall Bay’s Corner surf break

by Michael Gunson Link here Revelations have emerged that Wellington International Airport Ltd has been responsible for alterations to the Moa Point Road sea wall in Lyall Bay. Why has the airport been in charge of developing the sea wall, and not the Wellington City Council? The incremental creep of the sea wall has had a negative impact on Wellington’s premier Lyall Bay Corner surf break. WIAL are also applying for consents to build a 3 meter wide promenade the length of Moa Point Rd, as well as seeking the Corner surf break’s deletion, from a GWRC schedule of regionally significant surf breaks. Since the beginning, the airport company has reassured Wellington surfers that it is doing all it can to preserve our surf breaks in Lyall Bay, to mitigate future impacts and even improve it. As we stare down the barrel of their proposed runway extension, it is now becoming clear to Wellington’s surfing community that this is not the case. The 346-page Assessment of Environmental Effects (AEE) only discusses mitigation, not active avoidance or a plan to remedy adverse effects on the Corner. WIAL has submitted 28 documents to the Wellington City Council (WCC) and the Greater Wellington Read More …

BLOG: MORE AND MORE WELLINGTONIANS ARE BECOMING CONCERNED ABOUT THE PROPOSED AIRPORT EXTENSION

Opposition to the proposed runway extension is growing if attendance at the recent Guardians of the Bays information evening is anything to go by. A diverse range of groups, from business, community, recreational and environmental organisations are asking questions to peel away the public relations spin around the ill-conceived, expensive airport extension proposal. Groups as diverse as Forest & Bird; various Residents’ Associations; Wellington businesses; Save the Basin; the Surfbreak Protection Society; Hue te Taka Society; OraTaiao: The NZ Climate & Health Council; the Wellington Underwater Club; 350.org and the Green Party, to name a few, were represented at last week’s meeting. It quickly became clear that everyone present was deeply concerned at the spin being put out by the airport company, and the potential cost it will have to ratepayers and taxpayers, and of course to the beautiful Wellington south coast. The meeting was MCed by Bishop Richard Randerson, who has national standing for his work in faith-based and place-based communities. He made it clear that an airport extension does not make Wellington more progressive, particularly when the ratepayers and taxpayers are being asked to subsidise one of New Zealand’s wealthiest companies. Dr Sea Rotmann, co-Chair of the Guardians Read More …

OPINION Dr Sea Rotmann: WHAT IT MEANS TO BE A MOA POINTER

After a recent Dom Post article that asserted that the Wellington Airport is ‘gifting’ Moa Point residents $10,000 out of the goodness of their heart, some ugly attacks were made (including in the key letter featured in the Dom Post on October 8). I’d like to set the record straight about what it means to be a Moa Pointer and live in the smallest suburb in Wellington. We are neither NIMBYs nor whingers, and yes, we knew the airport and sewerage plant were there when we bought our houses (kinda hard to miss!). But we are a special lot, because we live in this special place and call it our home, our tūrangawaewae, and we are its guardians and fiercely protective of it. Moa Point is a heritage suburb, it consists of a very special reservation – the Hue te Taka peninsula – and a street of 21 residences. We’ve been around for a very long time, almost as long as Wellington exists. Around the corner, in Tarakena Bay, are three of the oldest pa sites in Wellington. Until the early 90s, raw sewage was pumped out straight into this beautiful bay – giving it the ugly moniker ‘Poo Point’. Read More …

Keeping the Airport honest is as hard as catching tadpoles with your bare hands

We need to state upfront that we do appreciate that the Wellington International Airport Limited (WIAL) is a corporation, one run by its majority shareholder Infratil, and as such has specific mandates to fulfil for its shareholders. Corporate law dictates corporate purpose – which is to make money for its shareholders. It basically says that the people who run corporations (i.e. the Board of Directors) have a legal duty to shareholders, and that duty is to make money. That is of course a problem when one of the Directors is the Mayor of the City who declares a ‘conflict of interest’ when asked to meet with severely affected residents – as her primary legal duty is now to the airport, not the city’s residents anymore, it seems. When you are dealing with a corporation whose primary motive and mandate is to make money at all cost, which is 1/3 owned by the City of Wellington and has its Mayor as a Director, you find yourself in a bit of a conundrum as a lowly citizen-led initiative. There is the obvious issue that they have a massive pool of resources to draw from which is exacerbated by the City gifting them Read More …

Monthy Python & the Wellington Runway Extension: Someone should trophy hunt this white elephant

The bumbling shambles that is the Wellington International Airport and Wellington City Council’s pipe dream for an airport expansion rolls on with more misinformation and lack of co-ordination by the various parties no doubt costing us millions of dollars with absolutely nothing to show for it but a report that says we shouldn’t go there. The Prime Minister won’t back it, the Economics Minister won’t back it, the Community doesn’t back it (Our Long Term Plan feedback was 81% opposed), the Airlines don’t back it, the Airline Industry doesn’t back it, even WIAL are not prepared to pay their share to build it, Air New Zealand have said that even if it is built they won’t use it as a hub, and in the last few weeks the entire extension has been taken to the High Court over safety concerns by the New Zealand Airline Pilot’s Association. This is a white elephant growing larger by the day. The Guardians of the Bays, a residents group that has broad support from both local neighbours on all sides, the rest of the city and region, and wider, fired up their website this week with a lot of very interesting information. What is Read More …

Moa Point Road closed again by big waves

Moa Point road flooding at the weekend. Twitter photo from Lyall Bay/Blaize Larsen-Beecroft Wellington.Scoop Wellington Airport warned this morning that the Moa Point road was closed again because of big swells. It had been reopened for less than 24 hours after similar problems over the weekend. Wellington.Scoop – June 15 Wellington Airport advised that the Moa Point road was still closed this morning because of large swells. The city council issued a similar warning, saying clean-up efforts as well as big waves were responsible for the continuing closure, which left only one route to the airport. The road was reopened at 4pm today after being closed since 2pm on Sunday. The NZ Herald this morning reports on the huge waves which hit Wellington’s south coast yesterday. It says part of the road at Owhiro Bay was closed by the waves. And it reports that big swells are also expected today. Ian Apperley: Council has its head in the sand about sea surges

The Council has its head is in the sand over sea surges

All the locals new it was coming. Sunday dawned bright and early and I was writing the first blog of the week I could see the salt spray drifting across the airport. A quick check showed that a massive storm system was sending waves north, coupled with a high-tide, was always going to result in more chaos around the South Coast. And come it did. For the fifth time this year. Residents were very lucky that we didn’t get the usual wind and storm pattern that we have with a southerly, which could have pushed the surge up into people’s properties all along the coast. It amazes me that they haven’t rioted about the lack of action, or rather, lack of result that the Council has made with coastal defences. A lot of new seawalls have gone in, however, they are being smashed at a rate of knots already and even the most recent walls are failing in high surge conditions. Island Bay remains broken after the last major storm, walls all around Eastern Suburbs have failed, been replaced, have failed, and have been replaced. Owhiro Bay has been smashed. Lyall Bay is consistently smashed. It is getting worse. My Read More …

Radio NZ: Waves close road and partially flood tunnel

Large swells, coinciding with a high tide, have washed rocks and debris onto the road on Wellington’s South Coast. The city council was warning people to stay away from the area this afternoon. Photo: Scott George The Wellington City Council said some of the waves had crossed the road and entered properties. MetService forecaster Nick Zachar said the four metre waves were being generated by a low pressure system to the South East of the country. “We do have southerly swells of three and a half metres in Cook Strait and maximum wave height of about five metres or so, so it is a downward trend from about now.” The tides washed up rocks near Wellington Airport. Photo: Wellington City Council The road between the eastern end of Lyall Bay to Moa Point Road is closed and the airport tunnel is partially flooded. Front of house staff member at Maranui Cafe in Lyall Bay, Anna Brimer, said the waves had washed over the roads. She said although the sea hit the building the cafe is in there had not been any damage. The waves closed the road between the eastern end of Lyall Bay to Moa Point Road. Photo: Stephen Read More …