Councillors Mark McDonald, Bob Fredman, Hilary Smerdon, Mal Gear, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Daryl Dodt and Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch have been debating the future of the Kybong Airport for the past two years.
Councillors Mark McDonald, Bob Fredman, Hilary Smerdon, Mal Gear, Dan Stewart, Glen Hartwig, Daryl Dodt and Deputy Mayor Bob Leitch have been debating the future of the Kybong Airport for the past two years. Phil Coquerand

Fight flares up again over major Gympie region facility

GYMPIE Regional Council yesterday denied reports it is scrapping a proposal to shorten the Kybong Airport runway as part of its plans to improve safety and opportunities at the facility.

Lobbyist group Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia said last week it had scored a "major win” for the aviation community with the Gympie Regional Council set to withdraw plans to change the runway's length.

It was proposed as a fix to a "rise” in the middle of the strip which poses a danger to aircraft.

However AOPA strongly opposed shrinking the runway as the solution, saying in March the new plan was itself a safety issue.

TURBULENCE: A plan to reduce the length of the Kybong Airport's runway has reportedly been axed after strong opposition from the Aircraft Owners and Piolts Association of Australia.
TURBULENCE: A plan to reduce the length of the Kybong Airport's runway has reportedly been axed after strong opposition from the Aircraft Owners and Piolts Association of Australia. Tanya Easterby

"The airport has been in existence since the 1960s and has a nil accident history... no runway is made safer by being shortened,” member Kreisha Ballantyne said in an article on the group's website.

AOPA said the decision to ditch the shorter runway arrived on the heels of the termination of the council's external business manager and airport consultant.

READ MORE ABOUT THE KYBONG AIRPORT FIGHT

It is a chain of events the council denies.

"No decision has been reached (on the runway) as council continue to look at a number of options,” a spokeswoman said.

"The council's consultant is currently engaging with stakeholders following on from feedback at the April 2019 meeting.

Kybong Airport aerial image
Kybong Airport aerial image Contributed

"Stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to contact the consultant at any time to hear any further ideas and views.”

The external consultant and airport manager left of his own accord, she said, and was not "terminated”.

AOPA has also asked that an Airport Advisory Committee be created to review the present problems and consult on future issues at Kybong. The council spokeswoman said this was being investigated.

"Once the report is complete and presented to council, council will consider a liaison group - terms of reference will be developed in the upcoming months,” she said.

Gympie Times


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