One hundred residents of Wellington’s eastern suburbs attended a meeting in Hataitai last night to express their concerns about the proposal to extend the airport runway into Evans Bay. Additionally, there were 20 apologies. Those present were greatly concerned that Evans Bay, as an iconic part of Wellington with all its aesthetic, recreational and marine features, should have its beauty spoiled by airport construction and operations.
The meeting was addressed by the Mayor, Celia Wade-Brown, and Greg Thomas, a representative of Wellington International Airport. Each advanced the case for a runway extension in terms of business opportunities, tourism potential, attraction of students, and time-saving for international travelers. Environmental concerns and the preservation of the intrinsic asset of Evans Bay are issues still being addressed.
The presenters advanced the case that a long-haul direct flight from Wellington to some city in Asia would avoid the hassle of having to fly to Auckland or Christchurch for an international connection (other than Australia). It was pointed out in response that the envisaged one daily flight to one Asian centre simply made that destination a new hub for transfers to other Asian destinations, a role adequately filled by Auckland and Christchurch, each with frequent Wellington connections.
Concerns were also raised about climate change, that we should be thinking about economizing on flights rather than adding capacity.
There was near unanimous support for a motion to establish a group called Guardians of Evans Bay with a primary focus to take all steps necessary to oppose the extension of the Airport runway into Evans Bay. A follow-up planning meeting will be called in a month or so.
Meeting called and chaired by Richard Randerson, in association with local residents’ associations. Tel 976 6050