Central Coast Airport – an opportunity lost
Environmental activists within Central Coast Council along with Community Environment Network group have highjacked future plans for Central Coast Airport which will it remain little more than an airstrip.
Following the appointment of Rik Hart firstly as CEO and then Administrator of Council undertook new revised Master Plan that was expected to be completed by late 2022 early 2023.
Shrouded in secrecy ever since, Council in late December 2023 announced that it would place an entirely new Master Plan on Exhibition until 12th February 2024.
The new Plan recommends upgrading the aircraft landing area (ALA) which currently has no Civil Aviation Authority (CASA) status, to a Code 2B standard that entails widening and strengthening of the runway but keeping it at its current length thereby limiting the use of the airport as a General Aviation airport and one that could service the growing number of corporate jets that the region would support.
The new Masterplan has identified areas of Porters Creek Wetlands that surround the airport and includes most of the land to the east that would have been used for aviation purposes under the control of a ‘Stewardship Committee’ undoubtedly made up of members of the Community Environment Network (CEN) and related activists.
In preparing the Masterplan Council has buckled to the demands of the handful of anti-airport activists and separated a major part of the airport site that will be placed under a proposed Porters Creek Wetland Stewardship thereby limiting the potential of the airport for future general aviation development.
Commenting on the Masterplan, Minister for the Central Coast and Member for Wyong, David Harris MP, said, “the masterplan finally gets the balance right regarding the future of the airport.”
Over the years we have had the two extremes, from closing the airport down to expanding it into a jet airport, neither of which is viable. It is a resource the majority of people think we should keep and this plan finally puts forward a very balanced approach.”
“There is not extension of the runway and the wetlands surrounding the airport are protected.”
It means we can grow a general aviation industry for smaller planes and hopefully return some economic value not just to Council but the Central Coast more broadly”
Meanwhile, regardless of the assurances expressed by the Minister and the Aero Club
It is unlikely that any investor will be interested in taking an enormous risk on the airport’s future.