Ready for take-off

Bendigo Weekly | Bendigo Weekly | 25-May-2017

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By Margaret O’Rourke
City of Greater Bendigo mayor

Greater Bendigo, fasten your seatbelts and place your belongings under the seat in front of you because we’re ready for take-off.

Today the City of Greater Bendigo officially opens the redeveloped Bendigo airport and celebrates its commencement as a Code 3C operation. 

The $15 million project, supported by local, state and federal governments, delivers a new 1600-metre, Code 3C runway with associated taxiways, lighting and signage infrastructure. 

Bendigo airport can now accept planes carrying up to 70 passengers or 30 tonnes in freight, and various emergency management aircraft that were previously too heavy to land here. 

Ongoing community safety has been at the heart of the redevelopment project. 

The airport is home to an Air Ambulance Victoria helicopter and the Department of Environment Land Water and Planning bases its firefighting operations here.

Due to its central location in the state, Bendigo Airport is a natural choice to host aircraft operations in fire suppression, flood response and emergency management across north-central Victoria and beyond.

The new runway will mean emergency services can continue to provide help to people in the regions when they need it the most.

Savings identified across the life of the project has meant another taxiway at the southern end of the runway and additional boundary fencing have also been delivered – both improved safety features. 

New apron lighting has also been accounted for, in anticipation of an airline expanding its operations to Bendigo. 

Over the past 14 months, 252,000 cubic metres of earth was moved, 90,000sq.m of pavement was laid and more than 24 kilometres of airfield ground lighting cable was installed. 

All up, 119 local people have directly worked on the project, demonstrating Bendigo’s construction industry is diverse enough and skilled enough to support large-scale development. 

And we’re not done yet. There is a third stage of the redevelopment project that is currently unfunded and needs to be completed. 

The city has a vision to develop a six hectare business park onsite, which would accommodate commercial, aviation-compatible and allied businesses. 

It is anticipated this would be a $6m project that would further boost the economic credentials of the region and assist with realising the airport’s vision of connecting freight in the Loddon Campaspe area to national and international destinations. 

A new strategic plan for the airport was recently endorsed by council, which will help drive the airport’s future performance and guide its transition into a transport hub for the region – a third gateway after road and rail. 

Today’s milestone occasion has been many years in the making but we’re celebrating more than the completion of the redevelopment project.

Greater Bendigo is ready to reach out to the world and our shiny new runway is open for business. 

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