HERALD Sun – Docklands airport plan slammed as 'crazy'

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HERALD Sun readers are largely opposed to a proposal for an airport at Melbourne's Docklands precinct, saying funds would be better spent building a rail link to Tullamarine Airport.

The airport has been proposed by a parliamentary committee after a taxpayer-funded overseas summer jaunt.

The outer suburban/interface services and development committee, made up of three Liberal and two Labor MPs, says the Victorian Government should consider a "city airport" to better service low-cost segments of the aviation market.

"The committee believes that a Melbourne City Airport could be a useful ... particularly for commuter-type domestic flights and short-haul international flights such as to New Zealand," the report said.

Committee chair Jan Kronberg and her Liberal colleague Cindy McLeish travelled with Labor MPs Natalie Hutchins and Judith Graley to Vancouver, Calgary and Toronto last year.

Ms Kronberg and Ms McLeish then continued on to Zurich and London.

The pair visited the London City Airport, 11km east of the city centre, and recommended Melbourne consider a similar development.

"Such an airport could be a useful addition as part of a comprehensive brownfield redevelopment area near the centre of Melbourne, such as Docklands," said the report, which was tabled in Parliament in June.

But Herald Sun readers said funds would be better spent building a rail link to Tullamarine.

"It would be a waste of money, but a rail link to Tullamarine would be better as Sydney already has a rail link to the airport from the central station in Sydney,” Martin Cronk said.

“Stupid idea! The Essendon airport is close enough to the CBD,” Stephen Grech said.

“I’m sure that a taxpayer funded rail link to Tullamarine would be a much better and cheaper option,” Ashley Donnet said.

Many readers suggested that the proposal had not been well thought through, and there would be many more problems rather than solutions created with an airport at the Docklands.

"Where are they going to find 3.5km of flat straight ground for each runway, also not forgetting the need for clear air space for the approach and departure of aircraft," Paul Van Den Akker said.

"It's a waste of time building all those apartments then! Who wants to live on a runway! ?” Matilda Maz said.

"What about the buildings? The only way this would work is for sea planes or similar size anything greater would clip buildings,” Emily Humphreys said.

What do you think of the Docklands airport plan? Join the debate on the Herald Sun Facebook page

Docklands Community Association President Roger Gardner tyesterday said it was a "crazy idea".

"It doesn't seem as though anybody's really thought that through," he said.

"There isn't any space left in Docklands. Any open space that we manage to have is very precious and the last thing we'd want is an airport on it."

Architect and urban designer Markus Jung said the London City Airport serviced the whole of Europe and Melbourne did not have that level of demand.

"It's not enough if a Government says we want to have an airport, it has a lot of follow-up questions - how will it affect communities, who is going to be exposed to acoustic pollution by these aircraft ... what does it mean for the existing airports if a new airport is going to be built?" Mr Jung said.

Aerospace-Aviation Australia Executive Director Paul Fox said Victoria had the best capital city airport infrastructure in the country and the existing Essendon Airport was closer to Melbourne's CBD than the Docklands airport was to London.

"While it's always great to see politicians and government looking forward with airport and aviation infrastructure in mind, I don't think there's a need in the short-term for an inner-city airport," Mr Fox said.

Opposition spokesman Murray Newton said it was "nothing more than a pie in the sky" idea.

The Government was considering the report and would respond in due time, spokeswoman Deborah Cole said.

michelle.ainsworth@news.com.au

With Brendan Casey

Period29 Jul 2013

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