Council approves analysis of relocating aerodrome

By James Bennett

Greater Shepparton City Council wants a detailed analysis of a potential new airport that could accommodate passenger and freight aircraft.

It is the first step in a long process to relocate Shepparton Aerodrome, with council approving a feasibility study into the economic benefits.

Urban Enterprise was awarded the $69 500 contract to carry out an economic benefit analysis of relocating the aerodrome.

Mayor Seema Abdullah said the analysis would take into account all facets of a move, including site assessments and viability of a new facility.

“Establishment of a new airport is a significant investment,” she said.

“Council wants to make sure they do this economic benefit analysis, that we have strong economic justification to go forward and attract the required investment to work on this new airport to further advance this project.

“You can't have this project unless you have an economic benefit analysis and a good rationale to do that.

“This is going to be a very big project if it all proceeds but we need that information to know.”

Cr Abdullah said council did not have a formal position if it relocated the aerodrome but said there had been discussion around new sites.

“We have been getting information and asking stakeholders,” she said.

“What we are saying is let's look forward to this economic benefit analysis report and go from there.”

The report will be completed within this financial year.

Council recently offered 20-year lease agreements to private operators, with a clause stipulating the private operators would not receive compensation for any relocation.

The lease agreements were a 10-year lease with a further 10-year option.

In council’s 2019 April meeting agenda, the ‘‘likelihood’’ of relocation was rated as ‘‘medium’’ during the coming leases under its risk assessment.