Evans airport future up in the air
On Saturday, Richmond Valley Council advertised the public exhibition of plans to rezone vacant land around the site for a proposed nursing home.
Meanwhile, at the annual Great Eastern Fly-In event staged at the aerodrome, community members anddevelopers were displaying plans for an alternative use for the land – a residential air park.
At the moment the land in question, near the old Bellman Hangar, is zoned industrial.
Brisbane developer Bill Finlen said his proposal for an air park would replace the proposed nursing home.
Speaking at the aerodrome, he said that under his proposal there would be 60 ‘good quality homes’ with garages big enough to house a small aircraft with a tarmac instead of a driveway reaching to the runway.
Mr Finlen said the facility would provide jobs for engineers, aircraft maintenance crew and mechanics, as well as attract visitors to the town who would be spending money.
“There would be a museum and homes, as well as long-term and short-term accommodation for people who want to fly in and holiday here or spend the weekend,” he said.
“This aerodrome is ideally located between Brisbane and Sydney.”
Mr Finlen said the council had offered him the use of six hectares left over from the proposed nursing home development.
“We would then only be allowed to build in the footprint of the old hangars, which only leaves us space for four or five buildings,” he said.
“That is not an air park.”
Richmond Valley Mayor Col Sullivan said proposals for an air park at the aerodrome had been talked about for a long time and as far as he knew no formal development application had been submitted.
“The nursing home has been on the drawing board for over 12 months,” he said.
“Council is not against the concept of an air park, but we feel the community wants a nursing home and retirement village in the town.
“The 60-bed nursing home will create 100 jobs in Evans Head, which is a lot of jobs.
“What we are asking is for the developers to come back with a proposal for the air park on the available land.”