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Katoomba licensees call for NSW government review

written by Adam Thorn | March 9, 2020

A collection of Katoomba-based aviation licensees have called for a review of the NSW government decision not to proceed with lease negotiations for the Katoomba Airfield.

Following the cancellation of the aerodrome licence on 28 February, which rendered the airfield shut, Capertee Valley farmers and licensees Floyd and Derek Larsen continue to raise issues with the state government regarding the validity of its community consultation process (CES).

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In response, the Blue Mountains aviation community has called on the Minister for Planning and Public Spaces, Rob Stokes, to review their decision because they claim the community consultation leading up to the decision to cancel the licence wasn’t fair.

FlyBlue director Floyd Larsen said they went to great efforts to counter the misinformation being perpetrated in the local community during the CES, with assurances from both NSW Crown Lands and the NSW state government.

“We were repeatedly assured that we should not be concerned; we should ‘trust the government process’, that the minister would make an evidence-based decision only,” she said.

Following the CES in mid-2019, the Department of Planning, Industry and Environment in January informed FlyBlue that a lease would not be offered and that its licence to operate the airfield was to be terminated and replaced with a new licence that prohibited helicopter flights.

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Larsen added, “Of course, we respect the rights of all individuals to voice their views on Katoomba Airfield and its future, however the final licence decision should be based on truth, fairness, respect and transparency.”

According to the department, this was done because of community fears that joy flights would ruin the peaceful environment, even though the lease conditions proposed by FlyBlue specifically excluded joy flights and circuit training.

“With the airfield closed this will directly impact jobs, business and tourism in the Blue Mountains – especially for a community that is already hurting after the recent bushfires and coronavirus has dealt another huge blow to local tourism,” Larsen explained.

For further information about the Katoomba Airfield or to sign the petition, go to www.flyblue.com.au.

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7 Comments

  • Rashid

    says:

    We in the Blue Mountains say no first and think later. Crematorium? NO. Flats in Leura? God, no. Highway improvement. No, no, no. Telephone tower? It’ll fry our brains. Alcohol sales? Sin and moral dissolution. Macdonalds? How dare you say that name?
    But the drones are coming. And the … Oh I forgot. I have a plane to catch. CO2 be damned. Bye.

  • Dennis

    says:

    Katoomba Airfield played a pivotal role during the recent bush fire season with multiple helicopters and operators using the airfield to refuel. If helicopters are not allowed just consider the additional loss of houses and properties without the fire fighting capability, although I am sure a back flip will occur once a raging fire is on its way. Disappointing to say the least.

    • Stephen

      says:

      This is only about helicopter tourism, not emergency use. There are beneficial uses of helicopters. I agree with Airservices Australia: ” Helicopters are often used for services that are of benefit to communities, such as fire fighting, crime prevention, search and rescue, construction and media coverage.”. Katoomba Airfield is always available for uses that benefit the entire commuity.

  • Stephen

    says:

    85% of formal submissions said no. 12,000 tabled signatures said no. 8,500 online petition signatures said no. 95% attendees at community consultation said no. The applicants, unfortunately, are unable to accept democratic and legal process.

  • michael

    says:

    As a private pilot (1497630 I consider the K airfield as a vital safe haven for routes from SYD to the west
    There is no other emergency landing strip between Bathurst/Mudgee and the western SYD airports.
    I have never landed there but it is always on my mind & flight plan when crossing the formidable terrain of the Blue Mts.
    So lets keep this vital piece of infrastructure for the benefit of all Australians
    Not just the 12000 nay sayers Denis has crowd funded.

  • michael

    says:

    My mistake : Stephen,( not Denis )has done the crowd funding to close the K airfield

  • Brian Lesslie

    says:

    Why loose an assert for the mountains each small step improves all our life style if we loose the Airfield then what is next. Retain the assert you have because ounce lost they may never be retrieved. Remember this Airfield is for ALL THE FOKE who live in the mountains not just the precious few …. EVERY ONE. Enjoy what you have.

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