Tyagarah Airfield will remain in the hands of Byron Shire Council.
Tyagarah Airfield will remain in the hands of Byron Shire Council. Cathy Adams

Bid to force airfield sell-off fails

A PROPOSAL to sell the council-owned Tyagarah Airfield near Byron Bay has failed to get off the ground.

Councillor Simon Richardson put the proposal to this week's Byron Shire Council meeting as a notice of motion, saying it would raise a "generous" sum of money for the council's depleted coffers, while at the same time eliminating ongoing financial and public liability risks associated with the airfield.

He said the council faced "sizable" responsibilities in managing the airfield, including daily inspections of the runway and taxiways, inspection reports, requests for permission to fly into the airfield and surveys to check the airfield's compliance with aviation safety.

If a mistake was made through human error, the council could face huge liability issues, he said.

"Council has very little expertise in the airfield business and may have the opportunity to receive a generous financial dividend in which to undertake core council responsibilities, in comparison to the small amount of yearly profit made by council if ownership is maintained," he said.

"I believe there is great merit in closing a chapter on a potentially expensive non-core council responsibility and instead generating funds to assist in the fulfilment of other core responsibilities."

But councillors voted to keep the airfield in council hands and instead asked for a report on the options available to the council in relation to future management of its land at Tyagarah Airfield. The council considered transferring management of the airfield to a third party last year, but resolved to proceed with signing a 20-year lease with Crown Lands.

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