Corowa’s bid for Qantas
Corowa Airfield is to be nominated as a site for development of a flight training centre, for consideration by Qantas.
A pilot training centre to cater for 500 pilots a year is being planned by Qantas.
Federation Council will lodge an Expression of Interest to Qantas, as resolved at council’s monthly on March 20.
Mayor Pat Bourke raised the matter in a Mayoral Minute and sought councillors’ backing after hearing that Albury Airport was being considered and after speaking to an Albury Flight Centre member.
‘‘It’s early days,’’ Cr Bourke told the Yarrawonga Chronicle. “Aspects such as the current Corowa Airport Master Plan and the draft new Business Plan would need to be considered, including possible conflicts with other users at the airport, and extensive con- sultation with current users and other stakeholders.
But the mayor believes Corowa Airport would be the perfect venue for the flight training centre.
“Corowa has two runways, a big administration building, a big hangar. Corowa and Yarrawonga (which has a larger airport) are in close proximity,” he said.
“The climate is very well suited for flying. It would be located near the Industrial area so noise is not going to be an issue. It has airspace.
“It would be an enormous boost for the shire.”
Cr Bourke encouraged councillors to endorse an in-principle decision by lodging an Expression of Interest, which was endorsed unanimously by councillors.
Corowa will have competition from other airports.
“A lot of people are putting their hand up,” Manager Adrian Butler told the Yarrawonga Chronicle after the meeting.
Mr Butler attended the meeting, along with council staff Heidie Neumeister and Dave Carroll. Cr Bronwyn Thomas acted as returning officer. A total of 24 people attended the meeting, including Crs Andrew Kennedy and Sean Whitechurch. Four apologies were received.
Mr Sissons outlined the steps mapped out by council in order to hopefully have the new master plan implemented, via Federation Council funding, before July 2019.
Among the top priorities will be pursuance of a sealed road network within the reserve to overcome the major dust problem, planting of some 180 trees along the north-east and northern boundaries, and improvements to drainage.
Cr Thomas expressed her thanks to all committee members. “You’ve worked tirelessly as volunteers,” she said. Cr Bourke said. “Dubbo and Tamworth for example are running an ad on TV.”
Cr Bronwyn Thomas said the subject was raised at the Yarrawonga/Tourism committee meeting on February 28, with members saying Yarrawonga and Tocumwal would welcome being involved with the Corowa Airport/Qantas flight training centre.
Former Corowa Shire Councillor and business owner at Corowa Airport, Franceso Bruinsma welcomed Federation Council’s resolution.
Mr Bruinsma has been the owner of International Soaring Centre, located at the Corowa Airport for some 20 years.
“The opportunity for Corowa is huge,” he told the Yarrawonga Chronicle.
“It would not only be attracting flying schools but we’d also attract a lot of business, especially maintenance and people have to eat and sleep.
“It would not interfere with gliding operations at all as we fly away from the airport.”
Mr Bruinsma, who has the largest of the six businesses at the Corowa Airport, said Corowa’s weather is superior than elsewhere.
“The further north you go, the shorter the days. The further south you go, the more effect on weather. We have the perfect weather,” he said.
The Federation Council Mayor said he has contacted Qantas. “The feedback from Qantas was positive,” Cr Bourke said.
“They’ve put us on the list… we’re in the running.”