Council's airport master plan about to take off
A MUCH-anticipated and often bitterly debated Gympie aerodrome master plan is about to roll out of the hangar, Gympie region councillors were told this week.
Councillors were told at this week's briefing session that they can expect to see a draft of the plan within weeks, as a prelude to a final document being presented for formal council approval early in the new year.
The plan has been a long time coming and the anxiety and controversy which has accompanied it has made that time seem even longer.
Airport businesses flew into a rage when the council called tenders for airport management, fearful of the prospect of a Sunshine Coast helicopter company taking over and potentially increasing the rent.
Many of the business operators said they had seen the failures of community airport privatisation efforts in the past and some said they came to Kybong to escape exactly that sort of disaster.
They pointed out the employment generated by the aircraft maintenance and building operations, flying schools and the Aero Club and private owners pointed out the importance of their part in what they have said is an increasingly significant aviation tourism industry.
All of it, they said, depended on the kind of security and affordable rent which has not often lasted after privatisation.
Not the least of those interested was neighbour Ray Gresham, a former dairy farmer driven out of business after many years of struggling with dairy de-regulation and now the owner of what he hopes will one day be an airport estate, where private owners can taxi their planes home to their own part of a residential airpark.
He wants to turn a big part of what was his farm into the Cumulus Airpark Aviation Community, with sales now in the balance.