Tocumwal new home of National Championships
AVIATION is set to take off in Tocumwal next year with the Australian National Aerobatic Championships (ANAC) officially making Berrigan Shire its new home.
ANAC organisers confirmed Tocumwal as the new home of the national championships from 2012, and estimate a local cash injection of $100,000 for the week-long event to be held in October.
The ANAC will join the Victorian Aerobatic Championships at Tocumwal Aerodrome.
The state championships are held in February each year, and have been held in Tocumwal for the past four years.
Tocumwal’s bid at hosting the high profile national event was under threat last month after ‘‘excessive noise’’ from aerobatic training sessions prompted a group of residents living next to the aerodrome to contact the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) to voice their concerns.
They said while it was not their intention to halt local progress, they had a right to be ‘‘considered’’ and that the noise devalued their properties.
However, Berrigan Shire general manager Rowan Perkins said after consultations with the Aircraft Noise ombudsman and the EPA there ‘‘was no legal reason’’ not to allow the event to go ahead.
But council is taking the complaints into consideration, he added.
‘‘The bottom line is council are very supportive of seeing the National Championships do very well.
‘‘We want to see the aerodrome used but we will need a management plan to avoid undue conflict.’’
Berrigan Shire director of technical services Fred Exton said a management plan would be completed by Christmas, in time for the Victorian Acrobatic Championships scheduled for February.
Australian aerobatics champion Paul Andronicou, who has previously trained at the aerodrome, said 2012 would mark the fifth year the state event had been held in Tocumwal.
‘‘They have been really successful, and the aerodrome has been recognised as a fantastic venue,’’ he said.
Following the noise complaints Mr Andronicou said the Australian Aerobatics Club was keen to work with Berrigan Shire and local residents.
‘‘We want to bring more awareness of the sport and the benefits to the community.
‘‘Once people understand, we are confident the event will be embraced,’’ he said.
Mr Andronicou said the shire could expect more than $100,000 to be spent locally per event.
‘‘The nationals will bring 40 or 50 pilots to town, and their families. On average pilots are spending $3500 on fuel, accommodation and meals.’’
The SOUTHERN RIVERINA NEWS received a number of letters to the editor in support of the event after recent articles outlining noise complaints from nearby residents.
Some letters welcomed the National Championships saying it would ‘‘put Tocumwal on the map’’ and calling it an ‘‘amazing aviation opportunity’’, while others criticised the complainants.
The National Championships will be held in Tocumwal next October.