Welcome centre proposed for Port Lincoln Airport

CONCEPT: LEPARA's rough plan of the proposed welcome centre development at the Port Lincoln Airport. Note not to scale.

CONCEPT: LEPARA's rough plan of the proposed welcome centre development at the Port Lincoln Airport. Note not to scale.

In the wake of Flight Training Adelaide (FTA) withdrawing its program from the Port Lincoln Airport, local residents have proposed a new development in its place to aid economic growth in the region.

The Lower Eyre Peninsula Airports Residents Association (LEPARA) has put a preliminary proposal to the Lower Eyre Peninsula District Council for a welcome centre featuring a tourism hub, local produce, galleries, a bush garden, an auditorium, a business lounge and a restaurant.

The centre would be located on the undeveloped land between the airport and the highway for the local community, tourists and cruise liner passengers to visit.

At the heart of the project a Barngarla Aboriginal Interpretive Centre has been proposed to allow the community and visitors to learn about Barngarla stories, history, language, food and view artifacts.

LEPARA member Joe Morrison said the group wanted to release the proposal for public consultation to make sure there was community support and give people a chance to have their say before it was formalised.

He said there were state, federal and Indigenous grant opportunities available to financially support the project.

"The proposed FTA development drew our awareness to the site for its visibility to the highway and to visitors driving past, it's a great site and opportunity so we thought, why not," he said.

"We aren't anti-development...this is a more appropriate development and it excites a lot of people.

"If the $3 million in Regional Growth Funding that was proposed for the other development (FTA) at the airport could flow through to this project it would be a really good start."

He said as a retired teacher, he knew Aboriginal history was a part of the curriculum and he expected every school and every class in Port Lincoln and surrounding areas would visit the site.

The concept was presented to council staff on July 2. Mr Morrison said it was new and unexpected for the council but they said it would need to be staged as it was a large project.

Council's chief executive officer Rodney Pearson said the proposed development was presented to council staff but councillors had not yet been given the opportunity to consider it.

"It is something in the future council will need to look at and consider," he said.

The concept plan can be viewed at www.lepara.org/an-alternate-proposal/ and in upcoming months will be on display at local libraries. Visit the LEPARA Facebook page for further updates.