CONCERNS have been raised over the environmental impact of upgrades to Bendigo Airport.
The City of Greater Bendigo is seeking $5 million in federal funds to start the $15 million project, which will involve the construction of a new runway.
Bendigo and District Environment Council convenor Stuart Fraser will meet Bendigo Labor candidate Lisa Chesters to discuss his concerns over the project today.
“Our concern is conservation, to bring up the fact that a great deal of vegetation is going to be cleared,” he said.
“From what I understand people want a new airport.
But the position of the new runway to the east will push it towards areas that will be forced to be cleared.
“There will be a great deal of vegetation cleared.
“It could be, as an estimate, that one square kilometre would be cleared.”
But City of Greater Bendigo city futures director Stan Liacos said only a small amount of vegetation would be cleared and that there would not be adverse environmental impacts.
“We note that concern,” Me Liacos said.
“However the extent of vegetation removal is relatively minor and has the in-principle support of the Department of Sustainability and Environment.
“The vast majority of the expanded airport is on private land that the council owns.
“It is true that we will need to clear a small amount of vegetation and to trim some of the vegetation in the adjacent state park.
“I don’t think it’s anything like a square kilometre.”
Ms Chesters wouldn’t say if the concerns raised by Mr Fraser would affect the project, but said she had a duty to listen to people.
“What I’m doing is learning first-hand about the concerns people have,” she said. “I believe it’s my role to meet all stakeholders who have an opinion on this project.”
Ms Chesters said she supported the project as a “vital piece of community infrastructure”.
Neither Ms Chesters nor Liberal candidate for Bendigo Greg Bickley have promised funding for the upgrades.