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Business Supports Whenuapai Commercial Airfield


Business Supports Whenuapai
Commercial Airfield Concept

The future of Whenuapai Airbase when the Air Force departs in five years was discussed by North Shore business leaders in the second of a series of meetings in the region, chaired by Enterprise North Shore chairman Maurice Boland, and addressed by the Mayor of North Shore, Waitakere and Rodney.

Bryan Mogridge who heads the City’s “Mayoral Taskforce” on Whenuapai, and business journalist Rod Oram, also addressed the meeting.

“There appears to be widespread business support on the North Shore for the concept of a commercial airport at Whenuapai, and a desire to see it further evaluated,” said Mr Mogridge.

“For most people and businesses on the North Shore it is easier to get to and from Wainuapai than Mangere, and there is an awareness that traffic congestion will get worse in the foreseeable future.

“There is some concern in the Greenhithe area about noise levels from a commercial airport. In fact, noise levels initially will be quite a bit less than with the current military operation, but this is an issue which would be addressed through the resource consent process if the commercial airport option is chosen.

Mr Mogridge said that with supplies of commercial and industrial land beginning to run out on the North Shore, it made sense for future major developments to be centered around a commercial airport at Whenuapai, close to rail, and connected to the North Shore by the new motorway linking the northern and northwestern motorways.

“It is not an either/or choice. We can have a commercial airport as well as a business park and industrial development, and these will develop faster if they can cluster round and airport. Destroying the airport to make way for commercial development is absolutely the wrong way to go.”

Mr Mogridge says he has been delighted at the support shown by business people at the recent meetings. “They can see how a commercial airport can add real value. In business, time is money and if you can save yourself or your product time by not having to travel all the way to Mangere in rush hour traffic then you see a real improvement to your bottom line.

“There is also good appreciation of how a commercial airport could help turbo charge development in the Northwest.”

The meetings are being hosted by Enterprise Waitakere, Waitakere City’s business development agency and are aimed at informing people about the advantages of keeping the base open as a commercial airport (the government has announced that the base will be closed within five years).

Waitakere City Council has formed a joint venture with infrastructure investment company Infratil to ensure that commercialisation of the airport is considered at by the government when it assesses options for future use of the land. Tim Brown of Infratil also addressed the North Shore meeting.

The next business meeting is being held in Rodney.

Waitakere is encouraging business people to make a formal submission on the base. Consultation, being undertaken by New Zealand Defence, which closes on January 16.

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