Following work in 2013/14 which involved forming the Queenstown Airport Community Liaison Committee, adopting the Noise Management Plan and discussing options with our affected neighbours, we have been working through our aircraft noise mitigation plans and putting them into action.
Latest Update (December 2017)
Work is well underway on the houses in the Inner Noise Sector closest to the airport. These homes are the most complex to complete with mechanical ventilation systems, glazing systems and insulation upgrades being installed depending on the individual requirements for each home. Three properties were completed by Christmas and the next phase of four properties commenced in January. To date the works have gone well and the feedback we’re received so far from homeowners has been positive.
The properties in the Mid Noise Sector will be offered a mechanical ventilation system - this allows people to keep their windows closed to both keep noise out and supply fresh air to the living areas of their homes.
Works have not yet started in this sector because our experience in the testing phase showed that the current specifications in the district plan for this system was not optimal to achieve a comfortable environment in living areas. Specifically, the temperature of air entering the building and the rate at which it entered was inadequate. To this end, QAC has made a submission to change the district plan so that the critical listening areas of properties are maintained at a comfortable temperature with a suitable amount of fresh air. The new specification is expected to be confirmed in approximately April 2018.
While the process has been delayed because of the legal and technical aspects involved, QAC believes it is the right thing to do going forward and remains committed to offering the most suitable solution to homeowners.
- To date, our aircraft noise management programme has been primarily focused on the homes in the airport’s ‘Inner Noise Sector’, as they are most affected by aircraft noise. The focus for FY17 was to complete the design of custom noise mitigation packages for each of these homes and commence the associated works. We have also finalised the package specifications for homes in the ‘Mid Noise Sector’ and will begin an engagement process with homeowners over the next 12 months.
- Mitigation works for the Inner Noise Sector were packaged into groups of 3 or 4 homes for tendering and completed in stages, starting in 2016.
- By July 2016, the first tranche of QAC’s Noise Mitigation Programme was made available to homeowners in the ‘Inner Noise Sector’ as the programme tracked the path agreed with the Liaison Committee.
- Two homes in the Mid Noise Sector began trialling mechanical ventilation packages.
- Work began on the Mid Noise Sector - all 135 owners were contacted regarding mechanical ventilation proposals.
- Our primary focus in the 2015 financial year was to progress works on the 13 Inner Noise Sector homes most affected by aircraft noise. This involved each home being assessed by noise management experts and individual acoustic treatment package reports being developed.
- These acoustic packages were then worked through and put into action in our first trial house which was completed in May 2015. Project manager RCP worked with contractors to test a number of different scenarios to ensure that when we work on each home we have proven best practices which achieve optimal acoustic results with the least impact to the people living in the house.
- These learnings were then applied to a second, larger trial house before mitigation work started on the first of the Inner Noise Sector homes.
- In the meantime, QAC and RCP met with each of the 13 homeowners to go through the technical acoustic treatment package reports completed by Marshall Day and the reports from architect Warren and Mahoney which show the actual effect of the noise treatments. A Letter of Offer - the formal process of Queenstown Airport Corporation offering a full noise mitigation package at its cost - was sent to each owner for their consideration. If accepted, a timeline is then agreed by both parties on commencing mitigation works.
- Preliminary design work for the 13 homes that qualify for the full noise mitigation package was completed
- Legal agreements for presentation to homeowners were drafted and subsequently approved by the Queenstown Airport Liaison Committee. This included a thorough review by an independent solicitor acting as an advocate for homeowners’ interests.
- One-on-one detailed meetings were held with each homeowner to present and discuss the bespoke noise mitigation design solution for their home and the legal documentation. Further correspondence and discussion with owners took place after the meetings to address questions, and owners took their own independent advice.
- By the end of 2015, seven homeowners had indicated they would proceed with noise mitigation works. We remain in discussion with all owners and in particular with those who require further information before deciding whether to proceed.
The programme will continue in scheduled tranches for the next 20 years.