THE Orange Airport upgrade will generate 93 full time jobs and pour $10.9 million into the central west economy during construction, according to Orange City Council.
But one of the city’s nearest neighbours, Blayney Shire Council, is concerned about the noise and vibration Millthorpe will experience when larger aircraft start flying in and out of Orange.
Orange councillors gave the $8.7 million component of the upgrade, including the extension of the runway and taxiways, a new helipad and access road, their support on Tuesday night before it goes to the Western Region Joint Regional Planning Panel (JRPP) for approval.
While only three nearby residents made submissions about the upgrades, Blayney council said the project’s environment impact statement (EIS) should have assessed the noise impact on Millthorpe instead of focusing on closer settlements.
“Residents in Millthorpe already are aware of and exposed to aircraft noise and vibration and the increase in runway length will enable larger aircraft to utilise the airport, thus potentially increasing the impact in this rural village,” Blayney council’s planning and environmental services director Leon Rodwell said in his submission.
“With Millthorpe being the site of numerous heritage buildings vibration is a concern for the stability of structures in the village.”
But Orange council town planner Andrew Crump said the upgrades will not “unreasonably impact” properties in Millthorpe as it was a “considerable distance”from where aircraft noise could be expected.
“The aerodrome is appropriately separated from Millthorpe,” he said in his assessment of the development.
A Spring Hill resident raised concerns about the traffic impact of the development during the construction phase and also called for all non-emergency flights to be restricted between 10pm and 6am.
But the council said it would not place further restrictions on the airport’s operations.
The council invited 19 government departments to comment on the upgrade but Blayney Council was one of only four that replied.
Users of the airport including Regional Express (Rex), Brindabella Airlines and Newcrest also chose not to comment.