Airfield plan approval

A 10-year conflict over the contentious redevelopment of the Kyneton Airfield has almost drawn to a close.
The airfield’s first and long-awaited Master Plan to provide clear direction for the site got a tick of approval from Macedon Ranges Shire Council last week.
The plan includes sealing 150 metres of the northern runway extension, commercial hangars and toilet/shower amenities, but excludes a special use zoning, business/tourism hub and construction of 10-12 private aircraft storage hangars at 8 Rawson Place.
The private hangars were the main point of contention between councillors during the debate at last week’s ordinary meeting.
Cr Mandi Mees said additional private hangars would assist Kyneton Aero Club in raising funds through lease arrangements.
She said the club’s experienced volunteers maintained the airfield, costed at about $60,000 per annum, and funding generated there was used to maintain and operate assets. The airfield does not rely on ratepayer funds and is a cost-positive asset to the council.
“This would be prudent to assist to sustain the airfield in a fiscally responsible manner,” Cr Mees said.
The aero club currently has a 20-pilot waiting list for private hangars at the site, which now has about 34 hangars housing 60 aircraft. Hangar owners and the club are now working to resolve permit issues.
Cr Mees had the support of Crs Roger Jukes and Henry Bleeck, but Cr Jennifer Anderson felt there was not enough support for a tourism hub or additional private hangars and that there were still some unknowns.
“There’s that inability for me to know: if we build more private hangars, does that necessarily mean there will be an increase in use, touch-downs and air traffic?” Cr Anderson said.
“There are concerns about increased activity on the site and potentially increased infrastructure.”
Consideration of the airfield has gone before the council at least five times since 2012 and caused considerable division within the community. The most recent round of consultation attracted 126 submissions; 88 per cent of those were a positive response.
Kyneton Aero Club president Warren Canning welcomed the Master Plan, which he said was modest in its expectations and provided amenity and operational improvements to benefit the aero club, emergency services that use the ground to provide bushfire air support, other users and the broader community.
“Sealing the northern gravel runway extension will be a plus because it will reduce the amount of noise over town from aircraft taking off to the south because they’ll be able to start their take-off run earlier, which means they’ll be higher by the time they get to the town,” Mr Canning said.
The aero club has made other efforts to reduce noise in applying to En Route Supplement Australia to prohibit non-local training flights at the Kyneton Airfield from August 13.
These training flights currently account for 16 per cent of the 5000 air movements movements at the airfield each year.
Mr Canning said there would be an opportunity for the broader community to benefit from the economic activity generated through the commercial hangars.
“Overall we’re very happy with the Master Plan, and the fact that it recognises the legitimacy of the airfield and the aero club, and that they’re here for the future.”
The facility was developed by the former shire of Kyneton in the 1960s and has been operational since this time.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

three × two =

error: Content is protected !!