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Waitakere Postpones Hearings
30 Jan 2009
Waitakere City Council will delay public hearings on a proposed district plan change intended to create a Whenuapai Airport Special Area (comprising most of the current airbase).
At a meeting this morning, the Minister of Defence Hon Dr Wayne Mapp told Waitakere City that there is a significant paper going to Cabinet by the end of March on the future of Whenuapai air base.
Mayor Bob Harvey says: “With that development it makes sense to delay and then look at going forward with all the available information.”
Mayor Harvey says the Council received assurances from Dr Mapp that both parties will work together on the future of the air base, that the Air Force will be remaining at Whenuapai for the foreseeable future and that an early start will be made to upgrading the runway and other aspects of the Airfield so that the infrastructure will be preserved and enhanced.
“The Minister’s commitment today takes the time pressure off. It looks like some real certainty will come out of this so that future generations do not regret any option being closed off. A postponement until a Cabinet decision makes sense.”
Mayor Harvey adds that the airfield and land surrounding it is a vital piece of national infrastructure to keep intact, with its potential to create economic activity and jobs. “That is why we moved with Infratil and other partners to explore the possibility of commercial development at Whenuapai, when the previous Government announced the Air Force would be moving to Ohakea.”
“It is important to understand that the district plan change, if approved, would not have ushered in commercial flights. The plan change is about safeguarding the infrastructure for the future.”
“It’s great to be working with this new government on a project of national significance and we await the Cabinet decision, which will give all stakeholders real certainty.”
Press Release: Waitakere City