Airport plan time flies
A GYMPIE Regional Council workshop meeting on Wednesday will be the last chance of the year for councillors to learn of proposals for the future of the region's airport, at Kybong.
Council staff advised last month's workshop meeting that a draft master plan for the airport would be presented to councillors by the end of the year.
The last opportunity for that to happen formally was last Wednesday's council general meeting, the last for the year.
But the report did not eventuate, leaving next Wednesday's workshop the last chance to even informally meet the end-of-year estimate.
Councillors were told they could expect a draft plan this month, as airport businesses and neighbours anxiously await certainty on their future.
Many aviation businesses at the airport had been critical of council management of the airport, but became even more concerned when the council responded by calling tenders to privatise its management.
In response to the new view that the only thing worse than council management was anybody else doing the job, councillors rejected all tenders and began work on a master plan.
The airport's future has for years been the subject of intense discussion, particularly among airport tenants and adjoining airpark property developer Ray Gresham.
The tenants fear the rent rises they have seen elsewhere when airport management is privatised and say the employment they provide would not occur if higher rents forced them out.
Other interested parties include private aircraft owners with hangars on the airport grounds, flying schools and the Gympie aero club.
Mr Gresham's already advanced development plans depend on aircraft acdess between the airport and his project, which aims to allow its residents to park their planes in their own private hangars.
Mr Gresham, a former dairy farmer, is well on the way to completing his airport estate, which he says needs to have access rights.
There was no guarantee such rights would be offered by any private management operation.