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Ashburton Airport Development Plan

The Ashburton Airport is a valuable asset for our district, and we want the community’s feedback on its future.

The draft Ashburton Airport Development Plan is open for consultation now and contains an exciting 30-year vision for a vibrant facility that contributes to the social and economic well-being of the Ashburton District.

It proposes development of three new hangar ‘precincts’, including an area for hangar-homes where people can live in the same building as their aircraft.

We want to hear what you think about the draft, so we can achieve the best possible result for airport users, airport neighbours and the wider community.

Why do we need a plan?

In recent years, we’ve seen the popularity of the airfield grow and increased interest from people and companies wanting to build hangars and establish commercial activities on the site.

The Council wants to encourage development that will ensure the economy of the airport thrives, while accounting for the site’s rural residential surroundings.

How can I have a say?

We encourage you to read through the consultation document or full draft and then provide your feedback using the form linked below.

Submissions close 5pm, Tuesday 30 August.

Ashburton Airport Open Day

We’ll be at the upcoming Airport Open Day on Saturday 13 August, between 12pm and 4pm. This is a great chance for you to talk to the staff behind the plan and ask any questions you have.

Saturday 13 August between 12pm & 4pm
Mid Canterbury Aero Club, Ashburton Airport
View the Facebook event

The Council wants work with airport users, nearby residents and the wider community to create a plan for Ashburton Airport that achieves the following goals:

  1. Ashburton Airport is enabled to become more financially independent.
  2. More people are attracted to Ashburton Airport for activities that support the vibrancy and viability of the facility.
  3. Ashburton Airport is sustainably managed to support increased use of the facility over the next 30 years.
  4. Ashburton Airport remains an appealing, thriving hub for the local community and visiting aviation enthusiasts for the next 30 years.

At the heart of the draft development Plan, is our proposal to develop three new hangar precincts:

  • Recreational Hangar Precinct - The current space for recreational hangars is full, so we’re proposing a new area for around 8-9 recreational hangars on the far north-east boundary of the Airport.
  • Commercial Hangar Precinct - We’re proposing to establish a commercial hangar precinct on the southern side of the Airport (along the Seafield Road boundary). This area would fit about eight similar-sized hangars.
  • Hangar Home Precinct - Hangar homes, where people live in the same building as their aircraft, are popular in places like Blenheim and Pauanui. We’re proposing to establish an area on the Airport’s western boundary, alongside Morris Road, where people can lease land and build a hangar home to live in.

Read more about the projects in the Consultation Document or Full Plan.

Has Council considered purchasing more land for the airport?

While there is certainly interest from recreational and commercial aviators in establishing new hangars at the airport, the level of demand is at a level that can be accommodated within the existing footprint of the Airport.  Purchasing more land is also an additional cost that does not support the aim of making the Airport more financially self-sustaining.

Has Council considered moving some lessees (e.g. Speedway) off the Airport to make more room for aviation uses?

No. The Ashburton Speedway is firmly-established as an activity at the Airport site and Speedway events are well supported.  The Speedway holds a 30 year-lease that still has 28 years to run.  The only issue of concern related to Speedway is the ability of the site to provide sufficient parking on-site for Speedway events over the next thirty years.  Council will work with the Speedway Club to look at future options for car parking in the long term.

Why has Council proposed to site a new recreational hangar precinct in the northeast sector of the Airport?

Firstly, to meet the demand for more space for recreational hangars.  Secondly, because it makes good sense to have a dedicated area for future recreational hangars, and access can be provided to this area from the eastern entrance of the Airport site.  Third, the new site is reasonably close to existing recreational hangars.  The final point to note is that this is a matter on which you can make submissions if you prefer another site.

Why has the Council proposed to site a Commercial hangar precinct on the southern (Seafield Road) sector of the Airport?

Firstly, to accommodate new commercial operators in a dedicated area. It makes sense to locate aviation businesses together. Second, because there is already a commercial lessee in this area.  Third, the site is reasonably close to aviation fuel supplies.  Fourth, the Council is open to alternative locations for specific commercial operators if they are likely to generate more noise.  Fifth, more commercial activity is important to achieve a more financially self-sustaining Airport. Finally, the location of the commercial hangar precinct is a matter on which you can submit your views for the Council to consider before making any final decision.

Why has the Council proposed to site a Hangar Home precinct on the southern (Seafield Road) sector of the Airport?

Firstly, because we are aware of potential interest to build hangar homes.  Secondly, it is another opportunity to achieve a financially self-sustaining Airport.  Thirdly, it will add interest and vibrancy to the Airport. Fourthly, we want to get community feedback on the concept of a medium-density hangar home precinct because this idea will require either resource consents or a District Plan Change, both of which will involve an investment of time and money.  Knowing the extent of community support will help guide future Council decisions on this opportunity.

Would Council sell land for Hangar Homes?

During debate and discussion, Councillors have clearly stated that they are interested only in leasehold development.  Land sales are not supported.

What infrastructure will Council provide?  How will it be funded?

Normally, when a new hangar is built, the hangar owner provides the infrastructure for the building.  This may include electricity, water supply, wastewater, and the internet.  In some parts of the Airport, there is water supply, power, and fibre to the boundary.  Wastewater is the most challenging, as the nearest reticulation is a reasonable distance away.  There are a variety of possible options for new hangars including holding tanks, packet plants, or reticulated sewerage.  Each would require some form of consenting, and they come with varying capital and operating costs.  Detailed work on options and costings is still to be done. Council believes that infrastructure must be funded by the people that use the service.  This means that if Council were to invest in infrastructure ahead of new development, it will recover that investment from the people who build on the airport.

Is Council open to wastewater infrastructure for the Airport that also services the rural residential areas adjoining the Airport?

Council has not ruled any option out at this stage.  Costings and community views will need to be considered. Council is also aware that many rural residential neighbours have already invested in on-site wastewater treatment systems and may not wish to contribute to reticulated infrastructure.

How does Council intend to manage the effects of a growing Airport on nearby residential activity – and vice versa?

Depending on the outcome of the Development Plan consultation process, we may need to change the District Plan to refine the rules and other matters that affect the airport. Examples of this might be reviewing controls over building size bulk and scale in certain areas, or the appropriateness of current noise contours.  Noise contours protect Airports from the reverse sensitivity effects of neighbouring residential activities, as much as they protect residential activity.

As noted already, changes to the District Plan require a formal process under the Resource Management Act 1991 and there would be a further consultation and decision-making process before any Plan Change or Resource Consent could take effect.

Council is also looking to explore Performance Standards for airport activity.  This would require lessees to comply with new rules in their leases that might relate to hours of flying, traffic management, and other issues.  In time, some of these issues could be incorporated into the District Plan.

What are the plans for the Flight School?

Council is interested in considering this proposal once it has consulted the community on the Draft Ashburton Airport Development Plan.

As noted in the draft Development Plan, Council has been approached by a flight school that is interested in coming to Ashburton.  Other lessees already operate pilot training out of the Airport as pilot training is permitted under the District Plan.  Over the first few years, the Flight School expects to grow its business quickly up to 42 training flights per day.

What are the plans for the Aviation Museum?

Ashburton Aviation Museum plans to build another hangar between its two existing hangars along Seafield Road.  This will provide more space to house the Museum’s growing collection of aircraft, as well as room for events, a kitchen and a bar area. A separate reception area on the western side of the new hangar would serve as a reception for the museum.  The timeframe for building depends on the success of fundraising by the mus

The information below has helped inform the development of the draft Plan.

Project Timeline

  • Early engagement with airport users and neighbours

    Complete

  • Create the draft Airport Development Plan

    Complete

  • Public consultation on the draft plan

    Now - 30 August

  • Hearings and deliberations

    14 September

  • Revisions to the plan following public feedback

    September

  • Final Airport Development Plan adopted

    Proposed for Late 2022


Submit your feedback online!