Corowa’s bid for Qan­tas

Yarrawonga Chronicle - - Front Page - BY ROBERT MUIR

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.”

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