Aircraft noise an issue
The future growth of the Omaka airfield came under close scrutiny by parties opposing the proposed subdivision of a nearby vineyard, at the second day of an Environment Court hearing yesterday.
Colonial Vineyards is appealing the Marlborough District Council's decision last year not to allow the 21.4 hectare-vineyard to be developed into a housing subdivision.
The hearing, at the Quality Hotel in Blenheim, is being considered by Judge Jon Jackson and commissioners John Mills and Alexander Sutherland, and is set for one week.
Judge Jackson and the commissioners visited the proposed site in New Renwick Rd yesterday morning, before cross- examination of Colonial Vineyard's witnesses resumed in the afternoon.
Aviation consultant Dave Park provided data of fixed-wing aircraft movement at the Omaka airfield to forecast the likely growth in the airport over the next 25 years, and the impact on the surrounding area.
The subdivision in Taylor Pass Rd, which lies under one of the airport's flight paths, was identified as an area likely to be impacted by increased noise disturbance in the future.
Aviation cluster lawyer Quentin Davies, who represents the Omaka Aviation Heritage Centre and the Marlborough Aero Club, said more than 400 residential properties could possibly be impacted by noise levels louder than 55 decibels by 2038. "This poses a significant problem for the airfield . . . and knowing this, wouldn't an airport planner start thinking about how they might manage that?"
It was not just a problem for the airport operators, but for the wider community which used the airport, he said.
One of the options that airport operators had was to use a different flight path for take offs, but this would then direct aircraft traffic over Colonial Vineyard.
Mr Park said if air traffic movement at Omaka was to increase as anticipated, they would need to "tighten up" flight plans, and develop an overall noise management plan.
An option he suggested was to use the existing helicopter noise abatement path, which follows the Taylor River.
"I regard the Taylor River path to be both sustainable in the future with the increased movements and safer than the existing flight path," he said.
Mr Park was questioned at length by Mr Davies about the accuracy of the air traffic movement data he provided.
However, he was uncertain about the nature of the information provided to him by the air traffic control tower, he said.
Marlborough District Council's lawyer Stephen Quinn was to resume cross-examining Mr Park this morning, followed by more of Colonial Vineyard's witnesses.
- The Marlborough Express