Airport up for name change
IT COULD herald the dawning of the second Age of the Aquarius – not that Lismore City Councillor Simon Clough wants to go anywhere near that suggestion.
He is more interested in boosting the number of tourists who fly into Lismore and spend money in the council area, whether they be backpackers, eco-tourists or seniors wanting an unconventional holiday.
To this end, Cr Clough will propose at Tuesday’s council meeting that it changes the name of Lismore Airport to Lismore-Nimbin Airport.
“We need to take advantage of all our resources in the local government area, and we aren’t,” he said.
“Outside 100km of this area no one knows where Lismore is, but if you say it’s near Nimbin or Byron Bay the lights go on.
“Lismore is desperate for more tourism. Instead of sitting around and talking about it, let’s do something about it. It’s relatively easy to change the name.”
Last year Nimbin, which is world renowned for its alternative culture, attracted 393,000 day-trippers and another 474,000 staying overnight, generating a combined $107 million for the economy and providing 778 jobs.
Most, however, arrive at the Ballina Byron Gateway Airport on their way to Byron, taking day trips to the iconic village.
“Why should Ballina airport get all that traffic when they could be coming to Lismore,” Mr Clough said. “It could be an opportunity to improve public transport between Lismore and Nimbin and there is more opportunity for people to stay in Lismore.”
The proposal has won the strong backing of the president of the Nimbin Chamber of Commerce, Peter Wise.
“It’s a terrific idea,” he said, adding that the Nimbin community had long felt ignored by the council. Anything that helps to brand and bring tourists to Nimbin is a good thing.”
Nimbin’s Hemp Embassy president Michael Balderstone has also been won over by the idea and suggested a number of items for a welcome pack for incoming tourists (see box).
Meanwhile, the council has decided to invite the Westpac Rescue Helicopter Service and private charter company Centreshop to participate in a selective tender process for the sale of the hanger and old passenger terminal building at the airport.