Monday 13 October 2014
Special Edition 105
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SA Government Commits $1.5 million to Outback Airports
The South Australian government has committed $1.5 million to upgrade two outback airports.
Coober Pedy and Marree will both benefit from funding announcements this week by Transport and Infrastructure minister
The government will spend $1.3 million on widening Coober Pedy's sealed runway 04/22 from 18 to 30 metres
to meet CASA requirements for passenger services to the town.
“Scheduled services provided by Regional Express were under threat," said the minister, "with the airline set to stop
operations under new CASA requirements coming into effect in November that classify the runway as too narrow.
“The prospect of losing commercial flights to Coober Pedy was unacceptable to the South Australian Government.”
MP for Giles, Eddie Hughes, said the upgrade was important for the local community.
“This upgrade will bring the Coober Pedy Airport runway to the same standard as other Council-owned and operated
aerodromes in South Australia,” he said. “The upgrade will not only improve access for the community to medical and
emergency services, it will also boost regional tourism opportunities."
A further $230,000 will be spent on upgrading Marree Airport to expand the aircraft parking, building a second
taxiway and line marking.
“These upgrades will result in improved services for passengers at the Marree Aerodrome, and make it easier for
pilots to use the runway," Mullighan said.
“The project will also improve the safety of Royal Flying Doctor Service operations – on average one flight
each week during 2013/14 – as well as the operation of other aircraft, including charters, that use the aerodrome."
Since 2007, the SA Government has spent $17 million on improving the state's outback airports.
My Travel Blogon Facebook - My2014 Oz Trip, Ulysses Club AGM's, posted 16 May 2014
Looking at the horizon from the Desert View Underground Motel at Coober Pedy
The ride from Glendambo to Coober Pedy was marked by strong headwinds tinged with the promise of rain on day five of our journey.
It was bitterly cold and many riders were wearing their ‘wet weather’ gear (plastics) to keep warm. There was
little to do but battle on and make the best of it, keeping a wary eye out for kangaroos, sheep and cattle on the road.
Fortunately only a couple of dead cows were sighted and the journey to Coober Pedy was completed without incident.
After refuelling we visited the information centre on the outskirts of town and secured a couple of rooms at
the Desert View Underground Motel which is dug into a hillside overlooking the township.
This feature dominates the countryside and overlooks the township. From the motel you can see vast distances
and marvel at the curvature of the earth on the far horizon broken only by the occasional hillock or feature.
Recent rains had given birth to new growth turning the desert into a carpet of green that blanketed the countryside
adding freshness and colour to the views.
This part of Australia is remarkable for its nothingness yet unique for it’s subtly and small changes in flora
along the way. Some travellers find the journey boring and can’t wait to get to the next town or destination. Not me.
The outback is a remarkable place!
I never tire of the view, however flat and unremarkable. There is always something to see in its beauty and grandeur.
During the night the morning’s promise of early rain was fulfilled and the town was inundated with heavy rain.
Next morning a bitterly cold wind made exploring rather optional so I decided to spend the day resting, waiting for
the storm to pass, spending time preparing for the final two days ride to Alice Springs.
I had been to Coober Pedy before and would be back again so there was no need for sightseeing in the wet and blustery conditions.
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