24 April 2023

Help Merimbula Airport take off into the future with community feedback

| Claire Sams
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Merimbula airport terminal

Public feedback is needed to help shape Merimbula Airport’s future for the next 20 years. Photo: David Rogers Photography/Supplied.

Plans for Merimbula Airport may be given a shake-up as the Bega Valley Shire Council calls on the public to have their say on a review of the site.

Bega Valley Shire Council’s Jenny Symons, the project manager for the review, said the feedback would guide the council’s future decision-making.

“We’ve learnt a lot, the environment’s changed a bit, and so it just makes sense to stop and look at this master plan – not so much starting from scratch, but to refine it,” she said.

“If we’re going to do that, we may as well look out to 2043 instead of just 2033.”

The Merimbula Airport Master Plan 2013 is set to expire in 2033.

As part of the review, the public can submit feedback by completing an online survey.

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“The call for feedback that we’re issuing publicly is for the broad, general public,” Ms Symons said.

The survey features questions on the role and use of the airport, while others ask about people’s experiences using the facility.

“As part of the master plan review, we are also going out and directly speaking to key users, including the airlines and the ambulance service and the companies that move freight through the airport, and car hire companies,” Ms Symons said.

When the master plan was adopted in 2013, Bega Valley Shire Council was looking to acquire funding for various projects.

In the years since, the plan has been partially carried out.

Works to the site include upgrades to the water supply, an extension to the terminal, and the building of a new precinct for lighter aircraft.

“In that 10 years, though, we’ve learnt a lot about the site and what’s readily achievable, what’s more difficult and where there are some opportunities to tweak things,” Ms Symons said.

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Ms Symons said the council had been thinking about how the airport was currently being used amid population growth, such as for travel and medical retrievals of injured people.

“We’ve been thinking about, ‘What does the airport absolutely have to deliver?’ and ‘What’s its biggest priority?'”

The review is being funded by a grant provided to Bega Valley Shire Council in December 2022 and is mostly being carried out by Rehbein Airport Consulting.

The updated master plan will be finalised towards the end of this year, with a draft expected to be available for feedback in August.

Feedback can be submitted until 11:45 pm on 30 April through the council’s website.

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