The Bega Valley Shire has had much discussion about the proposition of extending the runway at the airport at Merimbula. Currently 1600 metres, discussion has centred around adding another 200m to the runway. At a council meeting five months ago it was resolved to go ahead with repairs to the runway required by CASA but not to extend. The extra cost for an extension appeared to be the main reason the council rejected the proposal.
At a recent council meeting it was mentioned again, apparently the contractors currently undertaking repairs to the existing runway had offered an extension of 200m at a discounted price. The ensuing debate in council was intriguing, as it centred around the need for an extension to the runway, would it make a difference to the size of planes and amount of traffic the shire could expect?
Property owners and people considering purchasing property in Merimbula, Eden, Bega, and Tura Beach will be watching this debate with keen interest. Ensuring the airport is capable of accommodating larger planes and an increase in the amount of aircraft visiting the area is of utmost importance to the continual growth of the area. Growth in tourism will in turn affect the value of holiday rental properties and even property values in general.
The councillors voted 4 for and 5 against the motion to extend the runway after considering the facts and arguments presented. One of the councillors reported that Qantas had said “The length of the runway is not a limitation for the Q400 and the aircraft can easily manage it. “ She also mentioned that the airport has a Code C classification and can take 72 seat aircraft. The Bombadier Dash 8 Q400 specifications on the Airlines Inform website states that the aircraft can carry 76-84 economy seat passengers and take off field length is 1300 with a landing field length of 1290. One visitor to the site stated in October 2012 “I was impressed with the performance of this aircraft on short field take off.”
Property owners, property buyers and vendors will be hoping the council has got it right and that larger aircraft will begin to use Merimbula airport, bringing more visitors to the area. Perhaps Qantas will bring in the Dash 8 Q400 several times a day from Melbourne, Sydney and Canberra – now wouldn’t that be excellent for growth?