- Tuesday 01 May 2018
Sunshine Coast Mayor Mark Jamieson has reaffirmed Council’s support for the development of the aviation and aerospace industry in line with the Regional Economic Development Strategy 2013 - 2033.
Mayor Jamieson said recent media speculation about the future of the existing 18/36 runway once the new 13/31 runway is constructed has been misleading and had caused unnecessary angst for some of the airport’s general aviation operators.
“The aviation and aerospace industry remains an important component of our region’s economy, with the capacity to generate high-value employment and with strong potential for growth,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Council supports the growth of this industry, as it does all of our seven high-value industries, and its ability to continue to attract and secure investment, so more jobs can be created in our region”.
Mayor Jamieson said that as a condition of the lease agreements, Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd is required to develop a new Master Plan by 2020, which is when the existing Master Plan expires.
“This requirement on Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd recognises that the existing Master Plan will have reached the end of its planning horizon by 2020,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“Substantial changes have occurred at the Sunshine Coast Airport since the existing Master Plan was adopted in 2007, including the development of the new runway, the transmission of the airport operations to a private entity and growth in the economy - all of which support the need for a new Master Plan.
“A single plan does not stay in place in perpetuity.
“Like other master plans and planning documents, the current Airport Master Plan has a defined lifespan and is reviewed and renewed to take into account changes in circumstances, needs and the operation and policy environment, all of which are evident in the context of the Sunshine Coast Airport since the existing Master Plan was adopted in 2007.
“Council expects that the new Master Plan will reflect community and stakeholder input, be evidence based and provide a clear direction for the Airport’s operation beyond 2020 – and I believe this is also what the community would expect of the master planning process”.
Mayor Jamieson also made the point that Council requires Sunshine Coast Airport Pty Ltd to operate the Airport in a manner that is consistent with other regional airports, which accommodate and support the general aviation industry.
“While I am not going to pre-empt the outcome of the master planning process – just as I do not pre-empt the outcome of other planning processes – our Council’s position will always be that the Airport must support the development of, and investment in, the aviation and aerospace industry, which is consistent with the Sunshine Coast Regional Economic Development Strategy.
The existing runway will need to close in late 2019 while construction of the taxiway from the end of the new runway to the existing runway proceeds.
During that time, general aviation will operate from the newly constructed runway.
Mayor Jamieson also confirmed that Council has not considered potential hotel or bulk retail development on the Airport site.
“Our preference is for that to occur in the city centre and other commercial areas on the Sunshine Coast.” Mayor Jamieson said.
“So in short, there is no decision made at this time on the future use of the existing 18/36 runway and I would encourage all stakeholders to contribute their views to the Airport master planning process as it progresses.”