Airport plan takes flight

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AN airport at Hastings is an idea being flown by Frankston Council and Mornington Peninsula Shire appears to be onboard.

The high-flying concept was first floated at a Frankston Council public meeting early this month. Councillors unanimously voted to write to Premier Daniel Andrews and the South East Metropolitan Group of Councils “to determine the viability of the Port of Hastings site as a location for the South Eastern Airport as identified in Plan Melbourne”.

“We have received support for this proposal from the members of the South East Melbourne Group of Councils,” Frankston mayor Cr James Dooley said last week.

“To date there have been only informal conversations about this proposal. We’re excited to get the ball rolling regarding this conversation.” 

The airport proposal seems to be taxiing for takeoff with Mornington Peninsula Shire happy to take a look at expert advice about building an airport in western port.

“Mornington Peninsula Shire has discussed the proposal for a regional airport with Frankston Council and supported their development of a feasibility study,” Mayor Cr Graham Pittock said.

Cr Pittock said he and Shire CEO Carl Cowie attended the latest SEM Group of Councils meeting and “are keen to consider any options that could lead to new major developments in the region”.

The Plan Melbourne report, released by the state government in May 2014, noted Melbourne is likely to have a third airport in the south east in the long term, by the year 2050, but did not specify a location for the airport.

Frankston Council is pushing for a passenger and freight airport to be built on a 2000 hectare site, dubbed ‘the Long Island Precinct’, between Hastings and Somerville earmarked as a container port for the Port of Hastings.

Frankston Council sees the construction of an airport on the Mornington Peninsula as “a viable option to drive economic growth in South East Melbourne” since it seems unlikely the Hastings port will now be built.

“We need an economic catalyst here in the south east that supports the growth of our region’s shared strengths: manufacturing, tourism and premium produce,” Cr Dooley said.

“A regional airport could enable the south east to maximise upon the opportunities that come from international demand for premium Australian beef, wine, dairy, berries, asparagus and herbs and further cement the region as a major tourism destination.”

First published in the Western Port News – 1 March 2016

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