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May 2, 2018 by admin

HUNDREDS of Glen Innes locals flowed through the Australia Asia Flight Training (AAFT) community consultation forum at the Glen Innes Library and Learning Centre on Friday afternoon.
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The consultation was part of an AAFT open day, which began at 10.30am at the Glen Innes Airport.

Shortly after an AAFT Diamond40 airplane did a flyby over the Glen Innes township to let the townsfolk try and hear the aircraft.

The full AAFT board of Kingsley Mundey, Ian Vanderbeek, Phil Sweeny and Neil Hansford made themselves available to talk to any members of the public who may have had questions about the proposed AAFT Flight training school.

Glen Innes Severn Council Mayor Steve Toms along with Deputy Mayor Col Price, General Manager Hein Basson and Director of Development, Regulatory and Sustainability

Services Graham Price also were at the consultation to field questions.

The forum ran from 1pm until 6pm and was flooded with residents throughout that period.

Many people left with a positive feeling about the proposal.

“I’m all for it,” Glen Innes resident David Newstead said.

And many agreed.

“I think it’s the best thing to happen to Glen Innes for years,” resident Al Culbert said.

“It’s a great opportunity for Glen Innes to grow.”

Fellow resident Jim Wilson, who has lived in Glen Innes for 75 years, echoed those words.

“I think it’s the best thing to come to Glen Innes in all my business life,” Mr Wilson said.

“I think the opportunity is immense.”

Although some residents did have some concerns, including Emmaville Rd resident, Robert Landers, who lives only 2km away for the airport.

But Mr Landers, whose property is under the proposed AAFT flight path, did say the open day helped to ease some of the concerns.

“Today has certainly answered some questions. There are a few discrepancies about what was in the proposition and what was answered today.

“I’ve still got some concerns about the full economic benefit to Glen Innes.

“As a concerned rate payer I’d like to see the best outcome for Glen Innes, but I am concerned with the lack of information.”

Mr Landers said he is not against a flight training school at the Glen Innes airport, but there are some points of the proposal that worry him.

“I’m not trying to be negative, I just have a few questions and a few valid concerns,” he said.

Mr Landers said there are three main issue he is concerned about.

The first being the ownership of the airport, the second is the number of flying days AAFT is allowed and the third is Emmaville Rd with extra traffic.

“We need to make sure we (rate payers) maintain ownership of the airport,” he said.

“I’d like to see the number of flying days down from seven to five and a half.

“With traffic expected to quadruple, I’d like to see a turning lane at Bullock Mountain Road, a turning lane at the airport and the Grafton St intersection is propabaly going to need a roundabout.”

Cr Toms said it was a successful open day.

“It’s been very positive. It’s been great that people have come out and wanted to engage and get more information. The main concern being raised is people not wanting to see the airport sold.”

In the proposal AAFT would get a 30 year lease of the airport with the opportunity to buy at any time.

Another concern frequently raised was the cost to ratepayers, but Mr Price said residents don’t have to worry about that.

“It would be fully funded by the developer. All infrastructure upgrades would be at the developer’s cost.”

Mr Hansford agreed it was a positive day.

“It was outstanding that people were interested enough to come and get the correct information from us (AAFT) and council,” he said.

“It showed a great maturity in the community.”

o AAFT aircraft, the Diamond40 flew into Glen on Friday : Independent accessor and urban planner Kiely Hunter and Aero Club member and local pilot John Rogers.

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