Le Cahier Bleu

No-Fly Zone continues campaign to protect eastern suburbs

Mon activisme pour bouter les avions de plaisance hors de Wellington a connu un revers. Après un an de campagne, de pétition, de travail avec le conseil municipal, puis une première réunion avec tous les acteurs, force est de constater que cette deuxième et dernière réunion avec l'aéro club n'a abouti a rien. Ils n'avaient rien à proposer, et c'était à se demander pourquoi ils avaient accepté cette réunion. Le combat change maintenant de forme et sera, malheureusement plus conflictuel.

Le 23 Avril 2021 - Tags: opinion, scoop, noflyzone

Following a year-long process to rally the community and engage with Eastern ward Councillors, two meetings have been organised at the Wellington City Council between No-Fly Zone, members of the Wellington Aero Club, City Councillors and the Airport (although the latter only attended the first one). The meetings were to discuss the noise inflicted on residents (especially Miramar North, Roseneath and Lyall Bay) by recreational air traffic when the Aero Club runs the circuit.

This issue had become particularly clear following lockdown, where many residents had experienced the peace from airspace cleared of traffic.

The first meeting, organised on the 10th of November, allowed each party to present their point of view. The Aero Club outlined the constraints it was operating under and its multiple contributions to the community; the Airport explained it wasn’t responsible for determining the circuit, and No-Fly Zone read multiple statements from residents outlining the extent of the issue. A few changes to the circuit and the use of the circuit were proposed to adjust the balance between users of the soundscape (No-Fly Zone arguing the imbalance between some pilots and number of residents, versus their respective use of the soundscape).

The second meeting, on the 13th of April, had a clear agenda: to delve into the details of the proposed changes and establish a partnership between all parties to drive these changes forward. Alas, that meeting has been fruitless: while moved by best intentions, the Aero Club argued the circuit was just too hard to change, that changing it would have adverse effects on their operations, and subsequently, no amendments could be considered. Additionally, reducing the use of the circuit was not a viable option for the Aero Club. On the receiving end, the residents are left with a bitter “just live with it” taste in the mouth.

While a disappointment, this meeting marks the beginning of a new chapter for No-Fly Zone.

Acknowledging it has failed to work directly with relevant parties to get them to change willingly for the benefit of tens of thousands of residents, No-Fly Zone will now work with the City Council to push for these changes. The City Council is representative of the community and has tools to implement a framework more favourable to residents.

With a population in Wellington East expected to grow, it is essential that an operating framework is established sooner rather than later to ensure the Eastern suburbs do not become an industrial zone, where the Airport and related activities dominate the lives of the residents.

No-Fly Zone is joining countless organisations around the world and in New Zealand, from Whangarei to Wanaka, to promote greater consideration for residents against aviation nuisance, contribution to climate change, noise and land grab. In Wellington, where the airport is so close to houses, this call for action is even more essential.

- Benoit -