Fight flares up again over major Gympie region facility
GYMPIE Regional Council yesterday denied reports it is scrapping a proposal to shorten the Kybong Airport runway as part of its plans to improve safety and opportunities at the facility.
Lobbyist group Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association of Australia said last week it had scored a "major win” for the aviation community with the Gympie Regional Council set to withdraw plans to change the runway's length.
It was proposed as a fix to a "rise” in the middle of the strip which poses a danger to aircraft.
However AOPA strongly opposed shrinking the runway as the solution, saying in March the new plan was itself a safety issue.
"The airport has been in existence since the 1960s and has a nil accident history... no runway is made safer by being shortened,” member Kreisha Ballantyne said in an article on the group's website.
AOPA said the decision to ditch the shorter runway arrived on the heels of the termination of the council's external business manager and airport consultant.
READ MORE ABOUT THE KYBONG AIRPORT FIGHT
- Aerodrome changes are devastating and must be stopped
- New rules for Gympie councillors, airport on agenda today
- Airport campaign goes to councillors
It is a chain of events the council denies.
"No decision has been reached (on the runway) as council continue to look at a number of options,” a spokeswoman said.
"The council's consultant is currently engaging with stakeholders following on from feedback at the April 2019 meeting.
"Stakeholders are welcome and encouraged to contact the consultant at any time to hear any further ideas and views.”
The external consultant and airport manager left of his own accord, she said, and was not "terminated”.
AOPA has also asked that an Airport Advisory Committee be created to review the present problems and consult on future issues at Kybong. The council spokeswoman said this was being investigated.
"Once the report is complete and presented to council, council will consider a liaison group - terms of reference will be developed in the upcoming months,” she said.