Tenants have complained dust clouds have been billowing from the Sunshine Coast Airport new runway project for months causing problems with maintenance facilities and aircraft components. Photo: Contributed
Tenants have complained dust clouds have been billowing from the Sunshine Coast Airport new runway project for months causing problems with maintenance facilities and aircraft components. Photo: Contributed

Airport tenant speaks out on costly dust impacts

DUST pollution billowing off the runway construction site would inevitably have an erosive impact on helicopter turbines particularly, another major Sunshine Coast Airport tenant has claimed.

A rotor blade of a Becker Helicopters chopper left covered by a fine dust blowing uncontrolled off the runway construction site. Company owner Captain Mike Becker says it would inevitably take a toll on the machinery. Photo: Contributed
A rotor blade of a Becker Helicopters chopper left covered by a fine dust blowing uncontrolled off the runway construction site. Company owner Captain Mike Becker says it would inevitably take a toll on the machinery. Photo: Contributed

Becker Helicopter has joined calls for dust pollution to be more adequately addressed.

The problem has been mounting over the past six months with one operator, McDermott Aviation, having already invoiced the airport for nearly $50,000 in clean-up costs.

Captain Mike Becker of Becker Helicopters said the fine particulate dust would ultimately take a heavy toll on turbine aircraft components that went well beyond the mounting clean-up costs.

Mr Becker said there was "crap and dust everywhere.

"We can't keep up with it," he said.

The fine dust blowing off the Sunshine Coast Airport runway construction site has even infiltrated toilets inside the Becker Helicopter premises. Photo: Contributed
The fine dust blowing off the Sunshine Coast Airport runway construction site has even infiltrated toilets inside the Becker Helicopter premises. Photo: Contributed

"It's been going on for six months, it's getting out of hand. We are having to do extra cleaning which we will bill for."

Mr Becker said as soon as water that had flooded the site began to evaporate the dust problem had become "ridiculous".

"With aircraft sitting on the ground in this environment it will have a toll on the machinery."

Sunshine Coast Council, which with its construction contractor, was ultimately responsible for controlling air pollution from the construction site, said yesterday it was doing all that was required of it.

"All obligations are taken seriously, are assiduously managed and that there are multiple measures in place by the contractor for managing dust that may emanate from the project site," it said in a statement.

"Clearly there are multiple sources of dust, not only in the vicinity of the construction activities associated with the new runway, but also across the Sunshine Coast and South East Queensland in general due to the dry and windy conditions.

"Air quality monitoring results from across the region confirm this."

The Department of Environment and Science said the council was responsible for complying with the dust conditions of its Environmental Impact Statement.

"The Environmental Impact Statement (EIS) for the project states that during construction, air quality will be monitored and activities that could give rise to dust, which could affect air quality, particularly for properties located to the east of the construction site, will be managed through regular watering and shielding," a spokesman said.

The council failed to respond to a request from the Sunshine Coast Daily for it to provide results, time taken and location of the air quality monitoring required under the EIS.


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