Air mu­seum to ex­pand

Venue set to be­come new gate­way

Sunshine Coast Daily - Caloundra Weekly - - NEWS - Scott Sawyer [email protected]­news.com.au

A GROW­ING Coast tourism at­trac­tion has bold plans for ex­pan­sion and eyes on cre­at­ing a new en­try state­ment for Caloun­dra – it just needs a lit­tle help.

Queens­land Air Mu­seum at Caloun­dra is the na­tion’s largest and most di­verse avi­a­tion mu­seum.

It started in 1973 and has about 430 mem­bers, in­clud­ing 110 ac­tive mem­bers who log about 60,000 vol­un­teer hours a year work­ing at the Pathfinder Dr, Caloun­dra West, site.

Mar­ket­ing and promotions man­ager Ge­off Smith re­vealed the pop­u­lar at­trac­tion was strug­gling for space as its col­lec­tion grew and they were ea­ger to press on with a plan to ac­quire a neigh­bour­ing 3.8ha prop­erty to se­cure its fu­ture.

In a 16-page fu­ture plan cir­cu­lated to Sun­shine Coast Coun­cil and other key fig­ures, the air mu­seum has out­lined its hopes to se­cure a 30-year pep­per­corn lease of the neigh­bour­ing land from the coun­cil.

Dis­cus­sions had been on­go­ing since 2012 about the ac­qui­si­tion, as the air mu­seum bat­tled ca­pac­ity is­sues on its ex­ist­ing 2ha site.

The mu­seum has added an av­er­age of three new air­craft a year to the col­lec­tion over the past 32 years.

Mr Smith said with­out the ex­tra land the mu­seum risked hav­ing to de­cline new ac­qui­si­tions, which would dam­age the rep­u­ta­tion it had built.

The mu­seum was eye­ing off the likes of Clas­sic F/A-18A Hor­nets and PC-9 train­ers, which could be­come avail­able in the next year.

“We sim­ply don’t have the land avail­able to us to make fur­ther ac­qui­si­tions,” Mr Smith said.

He said at present the mu­seum at­tracted as many in­ter­na­tional vis­i­tors as it did Sun­shine Coast locals and the mu­seum was aim­ing to at­tract as many as 150,000 vis­i­tors within 30 years.

If they could se­cure the ex­tra land, Mr Smith said the not-for-profit at­trac­tion hoped to de­velop a new vis­i­tors’ re­cep­tion area and “cre­ate a new gate­way to Caloun­dra” for those com­ing from Caloun­dra Rd.

Mr Smith said early es­ti­mates had placed the cost of the new build­ing at $1.5 mil­lion – $2 mil­lion.

“It could have a tremendous im­pact (on the re­gional econ­omy),” he said.

Mr Smith said they hoped to work with the coun­cil to over­come any is­sues with the neigh­bour­ing land and govern­ment agen­cies to en­sure the mu­seum’s fu­ture ex­pan­sion.

PHOTO: CON­TRIB­UTED

EX­PAN­SION NEEDED: Queens­land Air Mu­seum mar­ket­ing and promotions man­ager Ge­off Smith says the pop­u­lar at­trac­tion is strug­gling for space.

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