Pilots' insurance doubles at Evans

THE amount of public liability insurance for pilots flying into the Casino and Evans Head aerodromes has doubled after a decision handed down by Richmond Valley Council last night.

Councillors voted on a recommendation to adopt a new policy for the use of the council-owned aerodromes at their ordinary meeting.

The new policy means pilots using the Evans Head Memorial Aerodrome and the Casino Aerodrome will have to hold a minimum of $10 million public liability insurance, up from $5 million.

The recommendation to adopt the policy was adopted, with Councillor Donella Kinnish voting against it and stating that the policy needed an expert input.

“We need to consult with someone who has aviation knowledge,” Cr Kinnish said.

“We should seek their input and develop it a bit further. At this point we have more work to do on the policy.”

Fee collection boxes will be also constructed at both the aerodromes where aviation users will be able to pay for using the aerodromes on an honesty system basis.

Councillor Owen Crawford supported the motion, but doubted whether the fee box system would be honoured by all pilots.

“Depending on where the boxes are put, I doubt they (pilots) would walk up to them to pay their dues,” he said.

Council estimates the fee boxes would be similar to those in National Parks, measuring around five to six metres square.

Emergency services and the Department of Defence would be exempt from paying for the use of the aerodromes.

Councillor Robert Mustow argued for the policy by highlighting the need to protect ratepayers in the wake of recent plane crashes.

“There have been, unfortunately, some tragedies in the aviation industry where pilots have died, which is sad,” he said.

A list of aviation incidents, including accidents or near-misses at the aerodromes that are reported to council, will be displayed at the aerodromes as part of the policy.

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