EXTRA work for the Orange Airport expansion will add almost $4 million more to the final cost of the $13.9 million project but will see the existing terminal replaced with a new building.
Orange City Council will now demolish the 1960s-era terminal and build a new building with baggage carousels adding an extra $1.3 million to the bill.
Additional earthworks to plan for a future parallel taxiway and aircraft parking area will add another $1.45 million and the unplanned relocation of a gas main from beneath the proposed runway extension to neighbouring grazing land will cost $1.1 million.
The total $3.85 million will be funded from the airport operational budget and will have no long-term impact on general ratepayers, according to a report from technical services director Chris Devitt.
Aerodrome committee chair Cr Chris Gryllis said the changes would make the project better in the long term.
“We want to plan an airport that won’t need any major infrastructure for the next 50 to 100 years,” he said.
“The airport is an income-producing entity. We feel very confident that the income will be able to cover [the extra costs].
“We won’t do anything to upset any other [council] department.”
Council has released concept designs of what the new terminal could potentially look like, but Cr Gryllis said there was still more discussion to come.
“I know from personal experience if you want to alter an existing building it can start to cost you more than building a brand new one,” he said.
The Orange Aero Club has agreed to let council temporarily relocate the terminal to its new clubhouse planned for the site.
Spokesman Nick Redmond said the council hoped to get final consent to go ahead with the project at the end of March.
“The first bit of work will be the temporary terminal followed by the new terminal in the middle of the year,” he said.
He said suggestions that council land at the airport could be sold off to fund the extra work were shortsighted.
“I’m totally against it,” he said.
“We want to retain all the land at the airport for the future for the runway and for industrial services.”
He said the extra work would not make the project take longer but cut the time it took to finish the work.
The extra investment from council will mean it won’t cost as much for future expansions.
“All councillors are behind it,” he said.
“You don’t usually have that luxury of all the councillors supporting a project unanimously.”