A REGIONAL airport has been earmarked on a huge parcel of land on the south-west border of Lake Macquarie.
The airport would be capable of handling flights to Melbourne and Brisbane.
Wyong Shire Council has marked the land in its zoning plan for an airport.
It is near Wyee in areas known as Wallarah and Bushells Ridge.
Half the site would be in Lake Macquarie and half in Wyong Shire.
The proposed airport boundary is about about five kilometres long and 2.5 kilometres wide.
The Newcastle Herald reported in April that a federal study had identified a similar site in the area as a potential second international airport site.
Wyong council said that location ‘‘conflicted with the Warnervale town centre’’, an area where thousands of houses are built.
Wyong council has shifted the site to the north-west, pushing more of the airport site into Lake Macquarie, closer to Wyee.
Wyong council has consulted Lake Macquarie City Council about the plan, which involves a regional airport rather than an international airport.
Lake Macquarie Mayor Jodie Harrison said any proposal for an airport at Wallarah would ‘‘have to consider noise and air impacts on nearby residential areas, including the growing area of Wyee’’.
‘‘The federal and state government report into aviation capacity in the Sydney region actually excluded Warnervale as a preferred site for an additional airport on the basis of noise,’’ Cr Harrison said.
‘‘Council has recently resolved to rezone 150 hectares for residential to the west and south of Wyee.’’
Despite noise concerns, transport and planning experts who worked on the federal study considered the area ‘‘suitable’’ for an airport.
Wyong Mayor Doug Eaton said the airport site had been placed in his council’s new zoning plan, to go on public exhibition from January 9.
“What this is about at this stage is simply the need to identify an ideal site for a future airport,” Cr Eaton said.
“In my view any proposed airport is at least 10 years away, but it will certainly be a major boost to the area.’’
The airport could accommodate a runway of 2600 metres capable of taking Boeing 737s, with flights to Melbourne and Brisbane.
“For this to happen, there would need to be a significant amount of money spent on infrastructure, including upgrading road and rail links,” Cr Eaton said.
“With the amount of jobs created, economic benefits and improvements to infrastructure, there are very few negatives.”
The airport site would traverse the F3 and a freeway link road, requiring tunnels and/or bridges to be built.
The site is next to 260 hectares at Bushells Ridge earmarked for a $650 million industrial development.
It is on the same land where the controversial $800 million Wallarah 2 underground coalmine had planned to have its surface infrastructure.
The Wallarah 2 mine was rejected by the former Labor state government in the lead-up to the last election, but the project has been relodged with the NSW Department of Planning.
Wyong council opposes the mine.