THE possibility of a commercial airport at Hastings is still up in the air and many peninsula residents who contacted The Times after last month’s article (‘Airport plan takes flight’, The Times 29/2/16) believe the plan will not fly but Frankston Council is serious about its suggestion for a south east airport in the Mornington Peninsula suburb.
Frankston mayor Cr James Dooley has written to Premier Daniel Andrews asking the Labor state government to consult independent authority Infrastructure Victoria about the feasibility of an airport in Hastings.
In the letter dated 1 March Mr Dooley says land between Hastings and Somerville, about 2000 hectares known as the ‘Long Island Precinct’, earmarked for a container site for the Port of Hastings could be rezoned as “the location for a south east airport”.
Frankston Council still wants the Port of Hastings development to proceed despite Labor’s preference for a port at Bay West near Geelong.
The state government was finally able to pass legislation approving the sale of a 50-year lease for the Port of Melbourne and plans to use the expected $6 billion to fund its promise to remove 50 level crossings across Victoria’s rail network including 11 on the Frankston line.
Cr Dooley believes the Port of Hastings option is not dead in the water and the Port of Melbourne legislation passed last week leaves the door open to an expansion of the Port of Hastings.
“We hope that the Victorian government will receive independent advice from Infrastructure Victoria, on the best location for a second container port,” he said.
“The ideal location for this second container port would be the Port of Hastings, which meets all of the needs for a major container port and would result in major employment creation across the south east region.”
If the Port of Hastings expansion does not proceed Frankston Council says the government should look at an airport for the area.
“It is timely for the Victorian government to explore all of the potential opportunities to transform the Port of Hastings into a significant transport hub to strengthen the economy of our growing region,” Cr Dooley said.
“We will be meeting with representatives from the South East Melbourne Group of Councils later this month, to present a letter addressed to them, and discuss the opportunities that a regional airport will present for our entire region”.
The South East Melbourne Group of Councils includes the shires of Mornington Peninsula, Bass Coast and Cardinia and the cities of Frankston, Kingston, Greater Dandenong and Casey.