Threat to airport from watersport lake overstated – CCC manager
14 July 2003
Concerns about Christchurch International Airport safety being compromised
by a proposed passive watersport lake are being overdone, says Alistair
Graham, the City Council ’s Leisure Unit manager.
The City Council tomorrow (Tuesday, 15 July) meets to finalise its Annual
Plan for 2003/04. The recommendations before it include indicative funding
of $12.4m in 2004/05 and 2005/06 to build a lake north-west of airport for
use by rowers, kayakers and other passive watersports. The proposed lake
would be 1.5km from the main airport runway but not in direct line with
If passed, the proposal would require more investigation and full public
consultation before the Council fully committed to it.
Mr Graham says many major airports are close to large bodies of water and
operate successfully and safely. What is needed, he says, is all
parties working together to find out what, if any, risks there
are and combining to reduce or eliminate them. It is in everyone’s
interest to ensure any development minimises any risks.
We seem to have a lot of worrying about what might happen before
we’ve really even looked at what the actual threat might be and,
if we find there could be a problem, what could be done to fix it,” Mr
The Council itself contributes to the issue, with large bodies
of water at The Groynes and Styx reserves and the Burwood landfill site
is a recognised feeding ground for some birds. The Waimakariri River is
also a factor because it’s a breeding ground for black winged
What needs to happen is for the Council to work with Environment
Canterbury and the airport company and the trustees of the lake proposal
to make sure that appropriate steps are taken to reduce any risk,” he
Christchurch International Airport Ltd and the trust behind the
Lake Isaac Watersports Park had already commissioned a preliminary
bird hazard assessment report from Australian consultants Eco-Sure. “Its
finding is that the risk will not increase if appropriate mitigation measures
are put in place,” Mr Graham says.
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