Airport to be discussed at June Council meeting

Media release - 21 June 2018

Operations at Kempsey Airport will be discussed again at the Kempsey Shire Council meeting next Tuesday, 26 June, 2018.

Senior Council staff have recently spent considerable time reviewing Airport operations, opportunities for increased usage and economic return; balanced against ongoing discussions with community groups and residents who are concerned about the impact of airport operations.

While specifics of negotiations with various businesses can’t be publicly disclosed due to them being commercial in confidence negotiations, a Mayoral Minute to be tabled at the meeting will provide an overview.

The Minute includes an update from the General Manager clarifying the status of negotiations with the Australian International Aviation College (AIAC), following their withdrawal of a Development Application for an $18m expansion to the training college at Kempsey Airport.

General Manager, Craig Milburn, has confirmed that preparation of a Fly Neighbourly Agreement and associated Noise Management Plan remain key priorities in setting long term operating parameters for the Kempsey Airport.

“We will shortly appoint a contractor for this work and aim to conduct significant community engagement prior to these plans being adopted around the end of the year,” Mr Milburn said.

“In the interim, Council has worked with the AIAC to enter into an agreement covering use of the existing terminal building and hours of operation.”

Without an agreement or any DA in place the College is free to use the Airport at any time, due to its classification as a public aerodrome.

“The hours of use in the new agreement include a small increase from previous restrictions and allow circuit training on public holidays but not before midday on Christmas Day, Good Friday and Anzac Day,” Mr Milburn said.

“This agreement does not meet the longer hours that the College currently have in Port Macquarie and had originally sought at Kempsey and I’m conscious that it also doesn’t satisfy ideals of some residents.

“What this agreement does is create a holding position that keeps opportunities on the table while we work through the Fly Neighbourly Agreement and Noise Management Plan to create more permanent parameters that our Airport will operate within.”

Business papers for the June Kempsey Shire Council meeting will be published on Council’s website by Friday 22 June, 2018.