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A bright future for Hood Aerodrome has been mapped out with the approval of a masterplan by Masterton District Council for the key community asset.

The masterplan was developed in consultation with Hood users and operators, and the wider community.

The plan is available on the Council website here, with hard copies available from the Council’s Queen Street office.

Council staff are also meeting with key stakeholders who participated in one-on-one engagement, including potentially affected landowners, to explain the plan.

The masterplan looks at potential future development at Hood over the next 20 years or more, including widening and extending the runway, which would remove the need for LifeFlight to seek ongoing dispensation to operate from Hood.

Given the changes to infrastructure (runway dimensions and layouts, and taxiways), the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has directed the Council to carry out an aeronautical study to assess risks and how they are managed and mitigated. This is required by CAA by February next year.

Master planning does not prescribe development, but is designed to preserve potential options that may arise.

Development of the masterplan was funded through $10 million provided by the Government as a ‘Shovel ready’ Covid-19 recovery measure, which provides for a range of infrastructure improvements including the runway work. The Council is providing $7 million for the project.

Procurement of engineering and survey services for stage one of the masterplan will now begin. Stage one involves widening of the sealed runway to improve usability and safety of the runway in crosswind conditions.

Some development will require acquisition of private land, and the Council has been in contact with property owners as the masterplan has been developed.

Masterton Mayor Lyn Patterson said the adoption of the masterplan was a key milestone in progressing the ‘shovel-ready’ work.

“Hood is one of the jewels in the crown of the Masterton District, but it needs considerable work to bring it up to standard as a key asset.

“The aerodrome plays a vital part in ensuring the resilience of Wairarapa in the event of an emergency affecting other transport routes, but it can also be an economic driver.

“The masterplan sets out how we can plan for development in a measured way, ensuring what we do now assists us in the future, rather than creating unintended barriers.”

Chair of the Hood Project Governance Group Councillor Bex Johnson said the masterplan unlocked the potential of Hood.

“I believe we will see businesses coming to the district because of Hood, and that means jobs and economic growth.

“Finalising the masterplan is a major step in making this happen,” she said. “The plans for Hood will benefit not only Masterton District but the wider Wairarapa region.”