Australia & NZ
Fighting for Rotorua: Geoff Fischer’s Battle
The Rotorua area is one of New Zealandâ€™s most gorgeous. The area is overflowing with incredible sulfur springs, amazing geysers, spectacular mud pools, and a plethora of geothermal attractions. Nicknamed the â€œGreat South Seas Spa,â€ Rotorua has become one of the most popular tourist spots in the area, with a history of tourism and spa attractions dating back to the mid 1800â€™s â€“ even in light of, or in spite of, the persistent and permanent sulfur smell in the area from the nearby springs.
It makes sense, then, that airline officials would want to reopen the Rotorua Airport. As a matter of fact, they started welcoming trans-Tasman flights through Air New Zealand on December 12th. Thereâ€™s just one person slowing down their plans and his name is Geoff Fischer.
Geoff Fischer Takes a Stand
The Civil Aviation Authority has strict regulations regarding the flight paths airlines can use when approaching and leaving airports. Aside from having specifically set runways, the airlines are also responsible for making sure there are no obstacles that could possibly stand in the way of an airplaneâ€™s flight path within a specific area – even if those obstacles aren’t on airport property.
This leaves the Rotorua Airport with a unique problem. Pending the reopening of the airport they extended one of their runways. Approximately 1 kilometer away from the southern end of the new runway lies the 2,112 square meter property owned by Geoff Fischer. Mr. Fischer has a number of gorgeous trees on his property, many of which sit right on the border, extending into what the airport believes is itâ€™s â€œobstacle limitation surface.â€
Rotorua Airline authorities want to trim Geoff Fischerâ€™s trees. Mr. Fischer refuses to allow them to do so. The courts at one point ordered the airport to cut back the trees by a certain amount but instead of cutting back the mandated 3 meters, the airport cut back more than 7 meters, damaging more than 10 different trees on Mr. Fischerâ€™s property.
Now the courts are on Mr. Fischerâ€™s side, refusing to force him to trim his trees back any further. In some countries, eminent domain rulings would have already forced Mr. Fischerâ€™s trees to be cut down â€“ and possibly would have allowed the government to claim some of his land in the process. Fortunately, with the support of the courts, Geoff Fischer will have to do no such thing. That is â€“ unless he wants to.
And thereâ€™s the rub. Mr. Fischer could allow the Rotorua airport to trim back his trees. The Rotorua Airport, as a matter of fact, wanted to strike some sort of deal with Geoff Fischer before December 12th. They were unable to do so, which means they had to cancel some of their flight reservations in order to reduce passenger weight, per Civil Aviation Authority guidelines.
Geoff Fischer is taking a stand for a great reason. His land is full of incredible plant life representative of the variety of species scattered throughout the island. As Rotorua becomes popular amongst tourists, airport expansion wonâ€™t be the only problem the area faces. Geoff Fischerâ€™s stand against the trimming of his trees ensures that visitors to Rotorua will have more to see each and every time they visit.
And there is a lot to see. The area is full of incredible cultural, historic, entertaining, and relaxing attractions. The day spas are incredibly popular amongst those who are attracted to Rotorua by the hot springs and therapeutic mud pools and there are dozens of incredible fishing excursions of the shores or Rotorua suitable for fishermen of all experience levels. Not into the sea or the spa? There are tons of bird sanctuaries, wildlife refuges, volcanic sites, museums, and hiking trails to choose from as well.
It is believed that within a mere 5 years, tourism to the area will increase by almost 300,000 people per year â€“ and for good reason. But if the airport had been allowed to tear down more of Mr. Fischerâ€™s trees, who knows where they, or other developers with big plans, would have stopped. Geoff Fischerâ€™s trees may not seem important to the airlines but the plantlife on his property is special and is important to the survival of the the entire island.
Rotorua is one town you shouldnâ€™t miss if you ever plan a trip to New Zealand. Book a Rotorua hotel room, pack your bags, and prepare for a pleasant adventure. Just donâ€™t bank on flying in with Air New Zealand!