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Expansion of Sunshine Coast airport offers economic growth potential

By Greg Bell

With the local region expecting to see rapid growth over the coming years, the announcement of a potential expansion of the Sunshine Coast Airport should be expected. The Queensland government is opening the next stage of development up to public opinion, which could offer a wonderful opportunity for the local community to get involved and have a direct say in the future growth of the region.

The next step of the airport development aims to create over 1,500 long-term jobs and secure a major economic boost for the local area, which could be great news for commercial property owners in the Gold Coast – not to mention those living and working in the area. The public is invited to read the recently released environmental impact statement and lodge their comments or concerns from Monday 29 September, with entries closing on Tuesday 13 November. 

Deputy premier and minister for state development, infrastructure and planning Jeff Seeney said the proposed $347 million expansion would provide the infrastructure and means to more than double the current passenger capacity up to 2 million people per year –  a significant increase in capabilities and an exciting proposition for a region that thrives off tourism. 

One of the expected changes is the construction of a new runway – alongside the various pieces of infrastructure required to make this functional in the long term – which would be the first steps towards creating a larger, more expansive airport that's better suited to receiving large amounts of people at once. And with the Commonwealth Games heading to the Gold Coast in the near future, having enough infrastructure to make this as smooth as possible is definitely in the community's best interests. 

"If approved, the new runway would enable larger jets to use the airport and will provide greater access to the Sunshine Coast for international tourists. Economic forecasts suggest passenger numbers at the airport could climb from the current 900,000 a year to two million a year by 2030," said Mr Seeney in a September 26 statement. 

"Our government promised to grow the economy and deliver better planning. Assisting the Sunshine Coast Council to expand its airport into a strategic infrastructure hub delivers on this promise. I encourage community members to have their say on the proposed expansion." 

What are some of the changes to be expected? 

Alongside the development of a second runway at the airport, the proposed changes to the local region are wide and varied. Not only will these changes require the changing and realigning of the various airways and flight paths in the region, but the additional construction of a new air traffic control tower and aircraft rescue building – as well as a new fire fighting service station. Furthermore, the dredging up of 1.1 million cubic metres of sand from Moreton Bay for the filling of the Spitfire Realignment Channel. 

The creation of temporary transportation routes and infrastructure will also occur during the construction period, which could be temporarily disruptive to everyday lives of those living in the local region. It could be worth reading the specifics of the report and making an informed contribution to the dialogue being opened between the people and the local government bodies responsible for this development. 

However, the long term benefits of a strengthening economy and the potential for commercial development across the local community is a great result to consider for the future growth of the region. The future potential for purchasing investment real estate in the community – whether it be residential or commercial – is a significant drawcard for anyone looking into the Gold Coast property market. 

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