All systems go for airfield expansion

Members of the South Grafton Aerodrome Aircraft Hangar Owners Inc (l-r) Kevin Wilson, Peter Clement and Carl Baulton at the aerodrome.
Members of the South Grafton Aerodrome Aircraft Hangar Owners Inc (l-r) Kevin Wilson, Peter Clement and Carl Baulton at the aerodrome. Adam Hourigan

EXPANSION and improvement plans are at full throttle for the South Grafton Aerodrome now managers have secured greater independence from Clarence Valley Council.

In the last four months since the South Grafton Aerodrome Aircraft Hanger Owners group took over management of the airfield, work has been under way to improve the facilities and runway.

Owners group president Peter Clement said the development process was far easier now that the land users were in control of the airfield.

"If we need to go and get a drum of chemicals or something like that, we don't need a committee to authorise it, we can just go out and get it," he said.

"Everything is far simpler, so we're able to look after the upkeep of the airfield and make things happen in a timely fashion.

"For something as small as an airfield as this, it was such a hurdle, especially when time was of the essence. We've got people who know airfields and know aircraft who are managing the airfield now, so it's far more efficient."

Mr Clement said in the last four months the group had conducted a survey of the land at the South Grafton Aerodrome and pegged out another seven hangar sites, cleared out some fences and bushes, and started taking quotes for an expansion of the runway.

The control of the airfield by the hangar owners gave more security to people who had invested in the airfield, which would help promote further growth into the future, Mr Clement said.

He said there was potential for economic growth for the area coming from development of the airfield.

"We're in the ideal position here ... as Coffs Harbour Airport hangar space is becoming more expensive, it's getting harder for people to afford to keep their aircraft there, so they could move up here where hangar space is more affordable. So we want to tap into the market and provide affordable hangar space," he said.

"We as a group can keep control of costs, which is going to be a very positive influence for the entire aviation community.

"If you look at some of the areas where towns have supported aviation, the aviation community can bring a lot of money and people to the town. As time goes on, people will see the benefit to have such a great facility so close to town."

Topics:  clarence valley council south grafton aerodrome

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