Airport master plan canned by unhappy tenants
A DAMNING submission to the Sunshine Coast Airport 2040 Master Plan has claimed it failed to properly consider the needs of established businesses already employing large numbers of staff and contributing to the regional economy.
The locally-owned McDermott Aviation Group which employed 160 people and directly contributed $20 million annually to the Sunshine Coast economy said a commitment to consider retention of the existing runway in the master planning process had not been honoured.
Company representatives met with management on Tuesday during which Gareth Williamson, the airport's general manager for aviation business development acknowledged freight and passenger numbers would grow only incrementally over the long-term.
"It's a commercial property business for a number of years before it becomes an aviation business to us," Mr Williams told the meeting also attended by airport operations and assets general manager Frank Mondello and its Head of Corporate Relations Ayllie White.
In a statement the airport said aviation activities were the largest revenue stream at Sunshine Coast Airport.
"We expect the future commercial opportunities to complement and support the aviation business, such as tourism, offices, childcare, freight and general aviation activities such as training, maintenance, repair and overhaul," a spokesman said.
"Sunshine Coast Airport has developed its blueprint for investment for the airport site which aims to maximise the regional economic opportunities the new runway presents.
"In addition to the $605 million we'll pay for the 99-year lease, we will also be investing several hundred million dollars into infrastructure such as an upgraded terminal building, ground transport solutions, freight facilities and a general aviation precinct more than three times the size of the existing footprint.
"This is without any further cost to the Sunshine Coast ratepayer yet will deliver significant dividends to the regional economy in terms of tourism, freight and aviation business."
McDermott Aviation Group has alleged economic and employment benefits to the community had been based on intangible forecasts rather than robust and accountable economics.
"Location of services and access points pose safety risks and will negatively affect surrounding communities," it said.
Sunshine Coast Council will today vote on whether to accept the master plan which has attracted more than 400 submissions.
McDermott CEO Simon McDermott said the closure of runway 18/36 represented the loss of a $200 million community asset, a decision he alleged had been directed by Sunshine Coast Council.