Temporary car park to be set up at Timaru's airport
A temporary car park and baggage reclaim area are expected to be set up at Timaru's airport to cater for an influx of visitors flying into Timaru.
The first of Air New Zealand's 50-seat Q300 flights arrived at the Richard Pearse Airport on Monday, bumping up the number of people making their way through the airport.
The new flights also brought in more cars to the airport car park, with readers telling Fairfax that some visitors were forced to park on grass near the car park because of a lack of space.
A $1.3 million airport redevelopment project is due to begin after July 1, but the Timaru District Council has plans ready to put in place to cope with the additional visitors in the interim.
District services manager Ashley Harper said parking had already been identified as an issue, and a temporary car park would likely be set up once the council determined how much extra space was needed.
The extra parking area would be set up on a grassy area near the terminal, and would be fenced off, he said.
It was expected to be put in place in about two weeks.
If the amount of luggage coming through the terminal became a problem, an outdoor baggage reclaim facility would be also be set up, he said.
The terminal itself was big enough to cater to up to 50 people, and would not require any changes prior to the upgrade, Harper said.
Finalised plans for the terminal building were expected to be signed off this week, after consultation with Air New Zealand about its requirements, he said.
It was hoped the project would be put out for tender by May 31.
Harper expected the car park to be completed by the end of October, and the entire project to be wrapped up by the end of the year.
The upgrade will include the provision of 40 new car parks to help provide for a 50 per cent a week jump in in potential passenger numbers.
The completion of the car park will also signal the beginning of parking fees at the airport.
Users will be able to park for up to two hours for free, with a charge of $5 per day coming into effect after that.
The drop-off and pick-up area near the terminal will also be redeveloped and a barrier arm will be installed at the redeveloped carpark.
Harper was confident the barrier-arm controlled, 103-park area would generate at least $86,000 a year.
While passenger numbers had been expected to slowly build towards the 50 mark, there had been at least 40 people on each flight so far, he said.
"It's been really good."
The budget for the airport redevelopment was initially set at $875,000, but discussions with Air New Zealand about its requirements meant councillors later approved an increase to $1.3 million.
That consisted of $725,000 for the airport terminal upgrade and $575,000 to improve the airport's carpark.