The future of Kempsey airport’s aviation school remains undecided after a decision on the college’s expansion was deferred.
The outcome, unanimously voted on by the five members of the Northern Joint Regional Planning Panel on Wednesday, came after three hours of debate and discussion in a packed Kempsey Shire Council chambers.
The panel, which included chair Garry West and Nambucca mayor Rhonda Hoban, heard submissions from nine speakers opposing the application, as well as representatives of the applicant, the Australian International Aviation College.
They were joined by a constant chorus of informal comments from a crowd of around 250 onlookers voicing their opposition to the proposal.
Among the registered speakers were Save Kempsey Airport’s Adam Ulrick and Kempsey Shire councillor Leo Hauville.
They were followed by representatives of the Australian International Aviation College, who were heckled by the crowd throughout their submission.
During discussion by panel members, chair Garry West said he was in favour of approving the development application, if a compromise could be reached on operating hours. Mr West voiced his support for shorter operating hours than those in the DA.
After three hours, panel member Stephen Gow formulated the motion that would be unanimously voted on by the panel.
This would be that consideration of the application be deferred pending a further report which addresses in further detail:
- The noise impacts, including actual flight data of the aircraft in use at the airport;
- Public interest matters, including social, health and safety issues;
- Traffic safety issues;
- Potentially contaminated land issues.