Miramar Golf Club shrinks in Wellington airport growth plans
One of Wellington's premier golf clubs stands to be slashed in half so the capital's expanding airport can park more planes.
Under the worst-case scenario, this would see the airport buying half the course, and force it down to nine holes, Miramar Golf Club spokesman Kevin Banaghan said.
The airport had about 200 options on the table. Each of these involved taking over some of the existing course, he said.
The club recently had a special meeting about the proposal and was looking at seeking legal advice on its rights.
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"The feeling at the moment is we are not wiling to lose any of our land."
The airport, under the Public Works Act, had the power to buy land as it saw fit, but this could be appealed in court. Whether the club would take this route was not yet decided, he said.
He emphasised the airport had talked proactively with the club about plans, and the two parties were working together.
The club grounds and the airport property butt right up against each other along Stewart Duff Drive, which doubles as an entrance road to the airport car park area.
It is not the first time the airport has tried to take land from the neighbouring golf club. According to the club's history, the end of World War II signalled "a long innings by the administrations to safeguard their links from their neighbour, the Wellington Airport".
The Government took 5.25 hectares when the airport began expanding in 1954, then it lost a further 8.2 hectares in 1971.
The following year, the Government tried to buy the entire course for $3 million but the proposal fell through.
In 1992, the airport again looked at buying a large chunk that would have reduced the course to nine holes. A smaller - but still with 18 holes - course reopened in 1995.
"At the time, the airport said, 'That is it - we are not going to take any more land'," Banaghan said.
Wellington Airport spokesman Greg Thomas, in a written statement, said he was unaware of that undertaking "but we have set up a working group to look at ways of supporting future airport and golf club growth and development".
Due to forecast growth, the airport was spending $300m in the coming decade on "aviation and community infrastructure", he said.
"We're exploring a range of options to accommodate the expansion of our aircraft parking areas and we are working together with the golf club to look at the options and possibilities.
"We have had an agreement and sponsorship with Miramar Golf Club for over 20 years which included that there might be a need in the future for the expansion of the airport. We're committed to supporting the club and its members."
The airport said the current site was "extremely small" for an airport with six million passengers a year, and numbers were expected to grow.
Miramar-Maupuia Progressive Association chairwoman Robin Boldarin said plane parking in the area meant planes - and their noise - would be closer to homes around Strathmore Park.
The airport would struggle to stay below required noise limits, she said.
"They will have to be very cagey to keep under it."
It was "rather poor" that nearby residents' associations had not been warned of plans.
Strathmore Park Progressive & Beautifying Association secretary Glenn Kingston had not been officially told of the plans, which would seemingly reduce the noise buffer between planes and homes.
Taking a case to the Environment Court was possible, he said.