Real estate sales in the Bega Valley Shire may be positively affected by the new upgrade to the local airport at Merimbula. Ian Baker, Airport manager/leaseholder says the work has gone without a hitch and there had been no disruptions to flight schedules since the $5.7 million renewal works on the 1602-metre-long Merimbula Airport runway commenced on April 15. The works involve building a 300mm overlay on the 55-year-old runway with shape correction, widening the taxiway and apron and the installation of a new runway lighting system and drainage reports the local newspaper, Merimbula News this week.
It has not interfered with flight schedules as planes have been able to land safely within the restricted space. It has meant though that Rex Airlines, the aircraft carrier for the Merimbula route, has had to operate seven short of a full passenger list.“We’ve been able to keep all flights going and had no delays to the flights,” Mr Baker said, “and it has worked really well.”
The Merimbula airport will have a short shutdown period from June 14 to 28. This will allow for the centre section of the runway to be replaced. Assurances have been made that the contractors will work 24/7 to get the job done in this period. Meanwhile the installation of the new runway lighting is underway. It will allow for low visibility departures and aircraft will be able to take off in fog, another excellent improvement, Mr Baker said.
Property investors in the Bega Valley Shire will be relieved to hear that the airport runway renewal works will “ensure the safety of the operation, in other words we won’t have failures in the runway. That is probably the biggest single issue solved. Every time we got high rainfall we would get failures on the runway because the sub structure underneath would give way.” said Mr. Baker “The airport is now geared for the next 20 or 30 years giving the runway a depth of strength that will allow it to accommodate heavier aircraft should that need arise in the future. The old runway was past its use by date.”
The investment in the area of $5.7 million will underpin the ongoing development and growth of the area and, as Mr. Baker said, it was “a brilliant investment – not only in our community, but long term what it will bring to the shire.” Investors in real estate in the areas of Merimbula, Eden, Bega and Tura Beach will be encouraged by this upgrade to the airport and the ensuing benefits to the area.