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Editorial

Blue Sky Thinking

April 23 2019 by David Mayhew, Chair KPCA

Blue Sky Thinking: Frankton without the airport? You may have noticed that, despite the beauty of our environment and the exciting buzz of the town, there is a lot of angst about. Traffic congestion, accelerating visitor numbers, housing shortage, ribbon development, water quality, inadequate acute medical facilities to name but a few topics of concern. Have we reached a tipping point in Queenstown’s development, from a small resort into an overstretched town servicing a major tourism destination?

Focussing on Frankton and the Airport, consider these factors:
• Queenstown Airport Corporation’s wish to more than double current aircraft movements to meet airline demand cannot be accommodated within its current, or foreseeable future, social licence (the community’s acceptance of the external costs imposed by the airport’s operations). Not to mention negative impacts on our community, infrastructure, environment and tourism industry.
• The speed and scale of development in Queenstown and Wakatipu Basin are moving the centre of gravity from Queenstown Bay to Frankton; and
• The Airport is now a drag on our overall economic development, inhibiting necessary infrastructure in and around Frankton - hospital, schools, homes - because they are ‘noise sensitive activities’.

The current location is an accident of history: the strip of land used as a racecourse for entertaining gold miners was designated an aerodrome in 1935. Its growth into an international airport only began to accelerate in the last 30 years. Now that growth is exponential – noise boundaries approved in 2009 on the basis they would last until 2037 will be reached in the next couple of years. To cater for airline demand, QAC not only wants to more than double flights into Queenstown, it wants to develop Wanaka for jet aircraft as part of its “dual airport business model”. So, the facts on the ground have changed. Can we carry on muddling through; or is progressive, big picture thinking required for the next 50 years?

‘Blue Sky Thinking – Frankton without the Airport’ is the plan to be presented to our community on 29 April by two local urban designers, Gillian Macleod and David Jerram. They will challenge the assumption that growth of the Airport is ‘inevitable’ and consider the facts and figures that lead to a radically different conclusion – that what IS inevitable is relocation of the Airport. They – with the support of both local community associations, want to get feedback from our community on whether their blue sky thinking resonates with people who live and work here. An engaged and informed community can then help set the agenda for the local elections later this year. See you there.

Where: Remarkables Primary School hall
When: Monday, 29 April at 8pm
Hosts: Frankton and Kelvin Peninsula Community Associations

David Mayhew, Chair KPCA

- David Mayhew, Chair KPCA
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  • Jimmynoshoes

    Its all irrelevant, its almost as though the human species is ok with committing itself to annihilation. Let's just pretend the scientist have got it right - as I know many seem to think it was just another warning. We have been told to HALVE carbon emissions in 11 years to have a chance at 1.5C warming from pre industrial, what exactly don't people understand about this?

    Growth of the airport, growth of the economy, growth of tourism, growth....is finished, done, not coming back.

    We now inhabit a world already at about 1C hotter than preindustrial and possibly 1.25C depending on how it's measured. Warming is now accelerating and will heat by as much as .25C decade if we get unlucky, therefore we hit 1.5C in 2030. It's entirely possible we may already be committed to 1.5C even if we stopped all emissions today. I don't know about anyone else but I still see about 1 billion fossil fuels cars on the road, I can't imagine they are going anywhere anytime soon. Queenstown needs to gets itself out of tourism game and plan for the future. A future of less stuff, less flying, less opportunity, less travel, less economic expansion.

    The mind block people have that we still live the same industrial capitalist world of the past century is so far from the mark, and pure fantasy. Coral reefs are functionally dead, oceans are acidifying and 20cm higher, sea level rise is also accelerating from the current 3.3mm a year. Look at what happened to the West Coast last month, record flooding. In New Zealand marine heatwaves are adding huge amounts or energy to the system causing record rainfalls, the businesses were losing $3 million a day - not including clean up cost and bridge repairs - so its already damaging our economy. These floods coincided with record floods in Iran, record floods in Nebraska - americas breadbasket. Crop yields are already declining and this will surely continue.

    NZski seem to have the blinders on as well - saying things like under some conditions we may see more snow, from what I have seen over the last decade not a chance. Yes you get more precipitation about 7% more moisture per degree of warming so when it snows it will mean more but I think what we have seen is massively reduced ski season in term of length already and that will continue, The bottom of coronet barely gets snow on it anymore.

    When we move the the living part of the world - the biosphere things look even worse. We are in the 6th Mass extinction and have wiped out most the wild animals over 60% with 200 species going extinct per day - 10000 times the natural background rate. Arguably the most severe threat is insect declines. They can't escape the heat, destruction of habitat and pesticide use is wiping them out. 98% of flying insects lost in one Peruvian forest alone. 75% decline of invertebrates in some German forests. With 9 Billion people to support in a couples of decades is it realistic to think any of this will improve?

    Just wait until sea level rise really take hold in Bangladesh and we have 30 Million of them needed a place to live by 2050, some people have called the refugee movement over the last couple of years a crisis. You aint seen nothing yet.

    Let's pretend that we want to ignore this and we slide into a 2C world, imagine waking up each day wondering if the planet will decide to go into overdrive where warming is self perpetuation and we move into a hothouse earth, entirely possible.

    Leave the airport where it is stop waiting resources on expansion and start designing a transport system not reliant on fossil fuels. Also get some good thinkers to start modelling an economic system that is more in line with less tourism.

    WAKE THE F*** UP.

    Posted 23/04/2019 4:19pm (1 month ago)

  • Jimmynoshoes

    These two recent articles tell us exactly where we are in terms of climate/ environment.

    Things are moving fast, we may not survive.

    https://dark-mountain.net/after-we-stop-pretending/
    https://www.theguardian.com/environment/2019/apr/20/our-leaders-are-ignoring-global-warming-to-the-point-of-criminal-negligence-its-unforgivable?fbclid=IwAR3ELMLnBThuc5xfi4TZeHcjGpc0QZxD8PScbf902ixWSt3F5XJzezWfVCo

    Posted 24/04/2019 12:52am (1 month ago)

  • Jimmygrammer*

    Humans and the Anthropocene.

    It’s all irrelevant, it’s almost as though the human species is ok with committing itself to annihilation. Let's just pretend the scientist have got it right - as I know many seem to think it was just another warning. We have been told to HALVE carbon emissions in 11 years to perhaps have a chance at limiting warming to 1.5C from pre-industrial, what exactly don't people understand about this?

    Growth of the airport, growth of the economy, growth of tourism, growth....is finished, done, not coming back.

    We now inhabit a world that is already about 1C hotter than the preindustrial level and possibly 1.25C higher depending on how it's measured. The warming is now accelerating and will heat by as much as .25C per decade if we get unlucky. Therefore we may hit 1.5C in 2030. It's entirely possible we may already be committed to 1.5C even if we stopped all emissions today. I don't know about anyone else but I still see about 1 billion fossil fuels cars on the road, I can't imagine they are going anywhere anytime soon. Queenstown needs to get itself out of the tourism game and plan for the future. A future of less stuff, less flying, less opportunity, less travel, less economic expansion.

    The mind block people have that we still live the same industrial capitalist world of the past century is so far from the mark, and pure fantasy. Coral reefs are functionally dead, oceans are acidifying and 20cm higher, sea level rise is also accelerating from the current 3.3mm a year. Oceans are taking an absolute battering - absorbing 90% of the heat from our emissions. In New Zealand marine heatwaves are adding huge amounts of energy to the system causing record rainfalls, look at what happened to the West Coast last month, record flooding. Businesses were losing $3 million a day - not including clean up costs and bridge repairs - so it is already damaging our economy. These floods coincided with record floods in Iran, record floods in Nebraska - America's breadbasket. Crop yields are already declining and this will surely continue.

    NZski seems to have the blinders on as well - saying things like under some conditions we may see more snow, from what I have seen over the last decade, not a chance. Yes, you get more precipitation about 7% more moisture in the atmosphere per degree of warming so when it snows it will mean more but I think what we have seen is massively reduced ski season in terms of length already and that will continue. This change far outweighs any perceived benefits. It was reported in late 2017 that New Zealand has already lost 30 days of winter, the bottom of coronet barely gets snow on it anymore.

    When we move the living part of the world - the biosphere - things look even worse. We are in the 6th Mass extinction and have wiped out most the wild animals over 60% with 200 species going extinct per day - 10000 times the natural background rate. Arguably the most severe of all threats we face is insect declines. They can't escape the heat, destruction of habitat, pesticide use and modern agriculture is wiping them out. 98% of flying insects were lost in one Peruvian forest alone. 75% decline of invertebrates in some German forests. With 9 Billion people to support in a couple of decades is it realistic to think any of this will improve?

    Just wait until sea level rise really takes hold in the coastal plains of Bangladesh and we have 30 Million people needing a place to live by 2050. Incidentally, some people have called the refugee movements over the last couple of years a crisis. You ain't seen nothing yet.

    Now let's pretend that we want to ignore all this and we slide into a 2C world, imagine waking up each day wondering if the planet will decide to go into overdrive where warming is self-perpetuation. We may move into a hothouse earth scenario, entirely possible, alarmingly scientist have recently reported an uptick in methane emissions to which they are unsure of the source - possibly methane is now coming out in large amounts that are locked up in the Arctic permafrost.

    Leave the airport where it is and stop wasting resources on expansion and start designing a transport system not reliant on fossil fuels. Also, get some good thinkers to start modelling an economic system that is more in line with less tourism.

    WAKE THE F*** UP.

    *fixing just incase goes to print like my last rant

    Posted 24/04/2019 3:04pm (1 month ago)

  • Blue Skies

    Right on the nail, @jimmynoshoes – you should write the next editorial!

    Posted 24/04/2019 8:24pm (1 month ago)

  • Jimmynoshoes

    Blue Skies

    Probably not a good idea, see people can handle the environment chat right now because we all understand we need it to survive - and people are secretly shitting themselves, or else trying to pretend it can't be that bad.

    However, start talking topics like anarchism, wage slavery and the need for the workers to overthrow their bosses to take over the means of production and you'll quickly lose you QT audience except perhaps the exploited migrant labour, but what voice do they have?

    See Queenstown has become the perfect neoliberal project, have a labour force with little means to demand higher wages then put them into your own accommodation under the pretence of an accommodation shortage therefore locking them into working for you.

    So basically it means questioning the businesses leaders who are getting filthy rich in the process.

    Oh and I might also start questioning home owners who are putting 20 people in houses saying they are merely filling a need - they arn't they are creating huge social inequalities and filling their pockets whilst making living their impossible for Kiwis. Disgusting behaviour. Let's all take out a million dollar loan and cram it full of immigrants. Some economy.

    No gods, no masters!

    Im a NZer btw and not against immigration, however, I am against it when it produces huge inequalities in the society - the blame should be laid square at the feet of those running business models which I just spoke about.

    Posted 25/04/2019 12:55pm (29 days ago)