Not exactly bustling … the township of Wilton / Pic: Jeff Herbert Source: The Daily Telegraph
RESIDENTS of towns near the site of a potential second Sydney airport at Wilton are furious after the federal government yesterday moved closer to conducting a specific study of the area southwest of Campbelltown.
As federal Transport Minister Anthony Albanese declared the Wilton option needed to be “further examined”, councils in the area said an airport would destroy economic growth, risk environmental pollution of nearby dams and would have little public transport options.
While a possible flight path has not yet been considered, areas such as Wollongong, Picton, Douglas Park, Appin and Pheasants Nest may be in the firing line of aircraft noise.
The recent airport taskforce review found Wilton was the second option after Badgerys Creek but was the best in terms of noise pollution, producing 19,800 noise events annually compared to 200,700 at Badgerys Creek.
Macarthur Regional Organisation of Councils president Benn Banasik yesterday said a new airport at Wilton would be too far from Sydney and risked impacting 9000 homes.
“There is a lot of green space at the moment but there is a lot of potential for growth and that would be destroyed,” he said. “And what sort of dimwit is going to get on a flight from Melbourne for an hour and then sit in a car for an hour?”
Throsby Labor MP Stephen Jones has acknowledged the environmental concerns but has also pointed to economic benefits. With the state and federal governments both against the Badgerys Creek site, Mr Albanese yesterday threw his weight behind exploring Wilton beyond the taskforce review results.
“We believe that Wilton should be further examined as the site for the second Sydney airport,” he said.
But Wollondilly Shire Mayor Col Mitchell said the state owned the vast water catchments in the area, which would be at risk from pollution.
“Environmentally it would be a disaster as it is very sensitive part of the world with all the dams,” he said.