Central Coast Council has expressed its disappointment today at the decision by the Minister for Planning to keep the Warnervale Airport Restrictions Act in place.
Warnervale Airport, now Central Coast Airport, is the only airport managed by a Council in Australia that is subject to such restrictions, particularly relating to aircraft movements.
Council Administrator, Mr Ian Reynolds, said Council had been up front about its desire to develop the airport for general aviation and leaving the Act in place could impact on this possibility.
“The airport is a major asset for Council and the community with the potential to create hundreds of jobs and opportunities for our growing community,” Mr Reynolds said.
“We know this because we recently tested the market with our Expression of Interest process to turn the airport into an general aviation hub and the response was positive.
“We are currently developing a masterplan out of this EOI process which was always going to subject to rigorous community consultation and state government scrutiny.
“This announcement today has significant potential to affect this process and our ability to promote employment on the Central Coast.
General aviation includes pilot training, corporate aviation, emergency services and search and rescue, charter, aerial work, survey and monitoring, private flying, commercial operators and tourism related charter operators.
General aviation is a significant industry in Australia representing 65 percent of all aircraft hours in Australia and there is currently a high demand for airside general leaseholds close to Sydney.
“This is due to general aviation being squeezed out of the Sydney basin, so there are many operators looking for an alternative and the Central Coast is the perfect location,” Mr Reynolds added.
“We are not talking major passenger movements here, we are talking about genuine opportunities for smaller operators and aviation manufacturing expertise to become a major industry for the Central Coast.”
Council will continue with the master planning process for the airport and is seeking an urgent meeting with the Minister for Planning to discuss the decision.