The Sunshine Coast Airport Expansion Project has today taken an important step forward with Council agreeing to submit the draft Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) to State and Federal agencies for review.
Mayor Mark Jamieson said the Queensland Coordinator-General and the Commonwealth Department of Environment would now undertake adequacy checks against the Terms of Reference for the Sunshine Coast Airport’s new east/west runway.
“The Coordinator General will then make a decision on going to the next step of public notification,” Mayor Jamieson said.
“However today’s decision by council is an important milestone for this council and for those councils that have gone before us – as far back as 1959 – who have understood our airport’s importance to our economy and our region.
“An expanded Sunshine Coast Airport is a game changing project which will provide a domestic and international gateway to the region for both passenger and freight services.
“It will connect the Sunshine Coast to international markets, increase visitor numbers and expose the region to potential investors in the new economy.
“An expanded airport will also increase the attractiveness of the region across a wide range of commercial interests.
“The multiplier effect of the project will be huge and for our young and not-so-young, there will be opportunities to build worthwhile careers right here on the Sunshine Coast.”
Economic Development Portfolio Councillor Steve Robinson said the new 2450m x 45m wide runway was the expansion project’s key feature.
Other elements include replacing the air traffic control tower and fire and rescue service facilities, building additional aircraft aprons, relocating navigational equipment, providing additional land for aviation businesses and undertaking associated civil works.
“This is a proud moment for everyone involved in the project to date,” Cr Robinson said.
“We have the systems, procedures and processes in place to take this project forward, thanks to the massive body of work and extensive consultation undertaken.
“It remains Council’s objective to have the new runway operational by 2020, subject to approvals and funding.
“To this end, Council has engaged the Royal Bank of Canada as its commercial advisor to develop the most appropriate strategy to fund the Sunshine Coast airport expansion.”
Cr Robinson said the EIS was planned to be released to the community for a 30-business day public notification period in late 2014 however, the final determination of dates for the public notification process was a decision to be made by the Coordinator-General.
Further information regarding the dates and times of community information sessions and public information opportunities will be released once the exhibition dates are confirmed, he said.