By Paul Hemsley with Julian Bajkowski
Wyong Shire Council says it has strong local backing for a proposed new regional airport on the New South Wales Central Coast following a survey of residents yielded positive sentiment towards a new facility.
The council has floated the potential construction of a ‘Type 3’ airport to being built in its draft Local Environment Plan which equates to a regional airport with one runway of 2600 metres – as opposed to a Type 1 airport that requires a minimum of two runways 4000 metres long.
The council is flagging the creation of a new airport that would be able to accommodate smaller jets and propeller aircraft as the Central Coast region’s population swell to 300,000 people, or almost the size of Canberra.
That population is forecast to grow by another 70,000 over the next 20 years according to a council spokeswoman.
Of the Central Coast residents participating in the council commissioned survey in February by Micromex Research, 67 per cent responded that they were “strongly in favour” or “in favour” of the plan as well as a what council termed a “massive” 84 per cent at least “somewhat positive”.
Wyong Shire Council Mayor Doug Eaton said the people of the Central Coast understand a regional airport is crucial to future industry growth and job creation.
Mr Eaton compared the proposal for a Central Coast airport with the Sunshine Coast’s regional airport to underline the “positive growth” a regional airport can bring because the community benefits and similar distance from the Sunshine Coast to Brisbane and the Central Coast to Sydney.
“The people of the Central Coast realise they are disadvantaged by not having a regional airport and have made their opinions known through the survey,” Mr Eaton said.
He said many of the residents can see a “wide range” of benefits including job creation by establishing a new commercial hub around the airport as the Central Coast becomes a transport, logistics, business and tourist centre in the future.
The council has said it intends to raise the airport concept in discussions with NSW Minister for the Central Coast Chris Hartcher among other issues affecting the region when Mr Eaton travels to State Parliament in Sydney on Thursday 14th March 2013.
Mr Eaton said he is “keen” to “categorically rule out any misconception” the council is proposing a Type 1 International Airport.
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