Merimbula Airport will close for six weeks from January 31 to March 14 to enable the runway extension and strengthening project to be completed, council has said.
In the meantime work is progressing on the general aviation (GA) precinct which is currently fenced off within the airport confines.
There are 20 hangar sites proposed in the precinct, of which two will be large, similar in size to the Merimbula Aircraft Maintence hangar currently on site. It is understood a taxiway linking the new hangars will run parallel to the runway with a service road on the eastern side.
Once complete business and light aircraft owners will be able to lease land for use to park aircraft, and construct hangars and buildings for aviation-based businesses.
The intent is that over time, all general aviation activity will move to the new area.- Daniel Djikic BVSC
There is believed to be strong demand for the hangars from private aircraft owners.
Lessees will submit their designs to council for approval and will be required to meet with design guidelines that are being developed for the precinct. Lessees will be responsible for building processes, including obtaining the necessary approvals, council has said.
Daniel Djikic, council's project services manager said the new GA precinct to the north of the terminal, was aimed at supporting and stimulating aviation-related activity with dedicated taxiways and vehicle access, improving safety and useability, and stimulating economic activity in the shire.
"It will provide additional space for new hangers, office and storage buildings for aviation-related commercial enterprises and light aircraft owners. The intent is that over time, all general aviation activity will move to the new area," Mr Djikic said.
ACM has been told that earth moving is taking place to remove any stumps, level off and build up the base, before a layer of geomat is put down to stabilse the surface which would then be covered by a further layer of special water absorbing quarried material.
Drainage at the airport is a critical issue given the height of the runway above sea level and the water table and the large amount of piping currently at the site, will be used as part of a drainage system to capture run off from the runway and areas in the GA precinct.
Mr Djikic said the high amount of rain over the last few months was impacting progress in the GA precinct.
"However we are building up the levels in that area to mitigate this into the future. A major challenge is dealing with stormwater and this is reflected in the raised levels and stormwater pipes to direct stormwater flow around the site - the big pipes are being included to help manage the water on site, particularly to help it move under the new and existing taxiways," he said.
A major challenge is dealing with stormwater and this is reflected in the raised levels and stormwater pipes to direct stormwater flow around the site.- Daniel Djikic BVSC
"A whole of site stormwater management plan will also form part of overall master planning for the site," Mr Djikic said.
The raised levels and the fact that new hangars are being built at a higher level than his existing building is causing some concern for Merimbula Aircraft Maintenance owner Rex Koerbin.
Mr Koerbin has been concerned about drainage at the airport for some time particularly following the last runway upgrade which saw the level raised.
"The next hangars to mine are around 1m higher. We've already seen flooding with private aircraft getting bogged. Everything worked OK until they raised the level of the runway," Mr Koerbin said.
He hopes that suitable drainage can be provided for the area around his hangar where visiting aircraft taxi to for maintenance.
However at the end of January, there will be no aircraft of any type for six weeks while the runway work, which involves strengthening and sealing, takes place.
Council project services manager, Daniel Djikic said the decision to close the airport for the six-week period was not taken lightly and that the runway needed to be "sealed during the hottest part of the year to ensure the best engineering result and longevity of the runway".
Plans are being finalised to enable special refuelling for emergency services' helicopters.
The full general aviation precinct plans/drawings are available on the project page at: https://begavalley.nsw.gov.au/cp_themes/default/page.asp?p=DOC-GPH-71-33-05
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