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Wanaka Community concerned about “herd of elephants” in QLDC

The Chairman of Wanaka Stakeholders Group has written a wide ranging and hard hitting letter in response to the unprecedented statement made on behalf of QLDC Councillors by the Mayor about Wanaka Airport last week. In his letter to the Mayor and Councillors, Michael Ross said the Group had “serious concerns about the approach you have outlined” and says that members of the community are “sceptical, and they want assurances”.

Mr Ross then sets out in detail “five very large elephants in the room which need addressing” on behalf of WSG’s 2,348 members and the wider Upper Clutha community. They include key issues such as loss of control of the airport by QLDC (centering around details of a 100 year airport lease which QLDC has refused to make public), lack of consultation with the community and lack of focus on the environment.

The letter includes an appendix in five parts with further detail, including a list of 20 key questions and concerns raised by the group. Mr Ross said that full and proper consultation on these issues is “something we have been asking for since October last year”.

One of the final paragraphs of the letter challenges how the Council has viewed community concern:

“In your statement, you reference the “clear stress, anxiety, dissent and downright vitriol that this issue is creating in both Queenstown and Wānaka”. That is an inaccurate and patronising description of the concerns raised by your community. We have a different view: impassioned pleas from your constituents for our elected representatives to do what is right, and indeed what was required of you by law, and to consult the community is a world away from “vitriol”: this is a healthy example of our local democracy in action, holding the Council (and QAC) to account.”

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