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Ready for take-off

Work starts next week on a $12.5 million terminal upgrade at Gisborne Airport, with Tauranga construction firm McMillan and Lockwood in the cockpit.

Eastland Group chief executive Matt Todd said it would be an important moment for the whole region when work started on March 18.

“The new terminal will welcome visitors and returning locals to a building that showcases the unique spirit and stories of Tairawhiti. From a practical point of view, it will accommodate the ever-increasing passenger numbers that are vital to our economy. The new terminal will be a celebration of our region and something that we can all be proud of.”

The airport is operated by Eastland Group and owned by Gisborne District Council.

Along with the rebuild of the terminal — making it at least 50 percent larger — work would also include expanded and improved car parking, and landscaping.

A separate project to enhance the surrounding environment will involve the replanting of the Waikanae Stream. Stage one will plant the stream banks from the airport through to Te Kuri-a-Tuatai marae.

The government is investing $5.5 million from the Provincial Growth Fund, with the balance coming from Eastland Community Trust and Eastland Group.

Mr Todd said expressions of interest for the construction contract were sought in July.

“Following this, we progressed with a formal tender process. Two were received, both from out of town construction companies.

“The criteria included proven experience in delivering complex multi-staged infrastructure developments like this one, on time and on budget. Other factors included the involvement of local companies and staff, tikanga Maori experience, management of projects with a sustainability and environmental focus, and of course availability to work to our timeframes.”

The contract for the Gisborne Airport terminal rebuild has been awarded to the Tauranga office of McMillan and Lockwood, a construction company with over 130 years’ experience, and previous ties to the region.

“They will be using a range of local sub-contractors, while Gisborne’s Civil Project Solutions are project managing the build. Other local companies involved include Architects 44, who have worked with Tennent Brown Architects on the design of the terminal.”

The overall concept for the terminal was developed in collaboration with Ngai Tawhiri, who hold mana whenua over the area. The public would have the opportunity to provide their ideas for a large scale map of the region that will be a major feature inside the terminal.

The design would also link in to the programme of Tairawhiti Navigations projects being delivered by GDC, iwi and partners including Eastland Port, Department of Conservation and Eastland Community Trust.

“The programme aims to weave together the stories of our region’s first arrivals and great navigators,” Gisborne District Council chief executive Nedine Thatcher Swann said.

“Together these projects will reflect our unique culture, heritage and identity.”

Eastland Community Trust chief executive Gavin Murphy said the project would provide Tairawhiti Gisborne with a regional gateway that accurately represented “our place and our people”.

It would also “wow” people “from the get go”.

On March 18, a soil-turning ceremony and blessing will be held at the airport with representatives of Ngai Tawhiri. After the blessing, the contractors will start preparation work and the build will begin straight away.

Work would be done in two main stages, with stage one — the baggage claim area — including a brand new indoor baggage carousel, to be completed in October 2019, and the second stage finished by mid-2020.

“The airport is staying open and operating as usual throughout the build,” Mr Todd added.

“We’re thanking the community in advance for their patience during this time. Regular updates will be posted on the official Gisborne Airport Facebook page, and published in the Gisborne Herald.”

NEWER, BIGGER: A model of what the redeveloped airport terminal will look like. Picture supplied