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Aircraft noise concerns raised again at Community Board meeting

March 9th, 2011
[by David Armstrong]

For the sake of the development of Motueka's economy, residents on the west side of town may have to get used to an increase in noise levels from aircraft using the aerodrome, Barry Dowler said at yesterday's Community Board meeting.

Earlier at the pre-meeting public forum, two residents - Phil Peters and Tom Watkins - independently expressed their concerns about the increase in noise levels, the number of aircraft using the town's airspace, and what they believe is the flouting of the rules that are supposed to control the use of the aerodrome by the training school and tourism businesses. Ironically, two aircraft flew above the meeting room during this discussion, and those attending had to strain to hear what was being said.

The issue was raised for the first time in recent years at the February meeting of the Board and has since been the topic of a discussion forum on this website. See our report and the subsequent discussion here.

Councillor Dowler said later during the Chairman's report to the Board meeting that the flying school was hoping to increase its student roll from 80 to 120, and in today's competitive world people will just have to accept that Motueka needs to encourage such growth however it can. He said it was his opinion that the Community Board should not do anything with respect to noise complaints that could jeopardise business activity at the aerodrome.

The meeting heard that TDC had been emailed by David Ogilvie after the previous month's meeting seeking advice on what rules govern aircraft activities and who was responsible for enforcing them, but so far he had received no response.

The rest of the meeting revisited several perennial issues and topics, which are also seemingly taking their time working through the District Council's organisational machinery. Most items arose out of David Ogilvie's report from the chair.

Public access to Motueka River:  It was agreed that access points to the river be signposted so that visitors to the region can find them. Access points for fishing are indicated by Fish and Game signs, but other popular spots could be better promoted. Mark Chapman said the area near the Motueka Bridge should be promoted. The Board decided to support the idea in principle and to seek comment from TDC.

Streetscaping:  David's report asked why the streetscaping along High Street has never been completed, in particular the footpath "stamping" depicting the "flowing river" theme, and it was agreed that TDC's transportation manager be asked to clarify this.

Free internet access at the library:  Deputy chairman Paul Hawkes reported from his investigations that he believed Motueka Library members (card holders) should be given priority use of the free internet facilities at the library, which would help encourage some of the internet-using visitors to town to use Motueka's commercial internet cafes, keeping them in business. "Members have paid for the use of library facilities and should not be denied those facilities by those who have not paid," he said.

He said TDC knew of the Community Board's view that the free-internet contract with APNK (background details here) should not be renewed when it comes up for renegotiation, he feared that view will be ignored so he wanted the ability to negotiate a member-priority clause into a continued contract.

Motueka traffic issues:  The Community Board will meet with NZ Transport Agency, TDC and contractors MWH and Opus at the end of March for one of its twice-a-year meetings and had been asked to put forward a proposed agenda of items that Motueka people want raised. See the details here

Nelson Cycle Trail:  The trail last year received approval and promised funding of nearly $3 million, and will be built in stages over time. It will run from Nelson and Richmond to Tapawera, down the river to Riwaka, and back to Nelson via Motueka and Mapua. Motueka's contribution to the funding will be required only when the final section is being built.

The route for the Motueka stretch has been decided: from the Motueka River bridge it will pass down Staples Street to Thorp Street, down Harbour Road to the Motueka Quay, down to Old Wharf Road and across to the High Street South roundabout via the Inlet walk/cycleway, then along Wildman Road to School Road in Lower Moutere, from which it goes off-road via Old Coach Road toward Mapua.

Freedom camping regulations:  Once again opinions were expressed on this perennial issue, and the status of the rule-making was reported. Local Government NZ said it will help improve enforcement tools for local authority bylaws, but will not assist with drafting a model bylaw. Councils wanting to implement bylaws and the ability to fine infringers must do it by the end of May this year. TDC will consider whether or not to draft such a bylaw.

Discretionary funding:  SeniorNet Motueka's Digital Interest Group was granted $500 from the Board's discretionary fund to help mount and run its June photographic competition and exhibition.

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