The Australian International Aviation College (AIAC) has withdrawn its applications to modify development consent for an extension of hours and additions to the pilot training facility at Kempsey Airport.
According to Kempsey Shire Council general manager Craig Milburn the withdrawal of the applications means in early June when the current development application ceases, the flying school can no longer operate from the two demountable rooms on the site.
“That part of the operation will have to cease,” Mr Milburn said.
“It doesn’t stop them operating at the airport.
“They can still come and go, and use the aerodrome whenever they like in terms of the flights.
“They still have to pay landing fees.
“They simply can’t use the demountables for training because that’s what the DA was about.”
Mr Milburn said council is disappointed to potentially lose an $18 million investment into the valley but remains in talks with AIAC.
“That’s a significant investment, so that is disappointing, but we have a good relationship with the college and we’re still working with them.
“They actually want to have a look at the terminal building which isn’t part of the DA, so we’re still talking to the college about their future operations at the airport.
“The main thing is that council continues to work with the community on the noise management plan and that needs to be put in place.”
Mr Milburn said the fly neighbourly agreement and noise management plan should all be done by December, giving AIAC or other potential investors clarity about what is permitted in and around the airport.
“So that noise management plan is important.
“It will help them to make any decisions in a far more informed way from what they’ve previously been able to do because we haven’t had that in place.”
Mr Milburn said council has invested significantly into the airport and will continue to encourage businesses to operate at the site.
“Council has invested a bit over $2 million on the development of the business park and we’ve also put State Government money into the new fuel system out there for the jet fuel.
“So there is quite a significant development there, and it’s really open for different businesses to come in and operate from there.
“We’ll continue to look for business for out there and as I said we’ll continue to work with AIAC.”
Mr Milburn said he was unsure why AIAC had made the decision to withdraw the applications to modify development consent.
“Businesses make decisions for different reasons and obviously they believe this is their best call strategically,” he said.
Mr Milburn said the suggestion that students and instructors from the flying school feel intimidated and uncomfortable when moving around Kempsey was deplorable.
“It’s a real shame.
“Our community should be welcoming and accepting people.
“We should be saying very clearly that anyone from any race or background is welcome here.
“It is very disappointing if our community are treating people who are here learning valuable skills in that way.
“If people are being racist or discriminatory, it should not be tolerated.”