Airport's future uncertain
MARYBOROUGH needs its airport because it saves lives every week.
“The airport does far more than simply house a maintenance business and an aero club,” Maryborough Aero Club president Trevor Endres said yesterday.
“It is vital to handle natural disasters, search and rescue and medical emergencies. The Australian military also uses the airport on a regular basis.”
The airport is listed by the State Government, along with 24 others, as being “of state significance” and among “essential elements of the national and state air transport network or the national defence system”.
“It is therefore essential that these airports together with those aviation facilities be protected from development that could undermine their safety or operational efficiency,” the Queensland Transport State Planning Policy says.
“Development can adversely affect airports, aircraft operations and the functioning of aviation facilities both directly and indirectly.”
On Tuesday the Chronicle emailed questions, largely about the airport, to the council’s CEO Andrew Brien and he responded on Wednesday.
One of the Chronicle’s questions was: Is Maryborough Airport classed as “strategic”?
“There has been some discussion on the significance of the Maryborough Airport as being an airport of regional significance however this is not supported through any documented reports,” Mr Brien replied.
The State Planning Policy on “development in the vicinity of certain airports and aviation facilities” came into operation on August 3, 2002.
The SPP applies only to the vicinity of those airports listed – and not only Maryborough but Hervey Bay Airport also appears on the list.
The SPP indicates that if a council wants to open up an airport to development, it first needs to completely close it.
And development approvals given after August 3, 2002 must avoid “adversely affecting the safety and operational efficiency of those airports and aviation facilities”.
Trevor Endres sought legal advice this week on the tenure of the club at the airport. Although the land the hangars are on is leased from the council until 2014, the historic clubhouse itself is on a permit to occupy.
“I’d like council to reassure us by giving us those long-term leases we are seeking – and also to all the other aviation operators working or wanting to work out of the airport.”
Meanwhile the Chronicle understands that a charter operator working out of the aero club at Hervey Bay Airport received a letter yesterday telling him he could no longer operate there.