CENTRAL Coast Council hopes for a Warnervale regional airport to rival Newcastle Airport should be stopped before millions more dollars are wasted, NSW Premier Mike Baird has been told.
A regional airport is “not viable, desirable or necessary”, Yarramalong turf farmer Laurie Eyes told Mr Baird in a letter after a three-year freedom of information battle with the former Wyong Shire Council that has raised serious questions about the regional airport plan, and a proposed aircraft manufacturing project at Warnervale.
The future of the Warnervale site is on hold pending a NSW government review of legislation currently restricting the council’s airport expansion plans. But it has not stopped the council from proposing to spend another $6 million at Warnervale, despite the government rejecting council lobbying to have the regional airport included on a Central Coast regional plan released in October.
Mr Eyes’ opposition is backed by a Newcastle Airport submission to the government in 2016 emphasising that the Central Coast was within its “core catchment”.
Mr Eyes wrote to Mr Baird after the Premier visited the Warnervale site in October to announce it was “a great day for the Central Coast” because “thousands of jobs” would flow from an American company’s proposed $100 million relocation. Mr Baird’s office later distanced the Premier from the project after the company, Amphibian Aerospace Industries, confirmed it had never built a plane and its development application proposed a $2.84 million project with only 27 jobs.
Mr Eyes called on the Premier to block the council’s push to repeal the Warnervale Airport Restrictions Act, which limits operations at the site. Mr Eyes was instrumental in having the Act passed in 1996 in response to previous attempts by the council to establish a regional airport in an area also identified as a developing residential area.
“The way to call a halt to a regional airport is for the Government to retain the Warnervale Airport Restrictions Act as a minimum, then that’s the finish of it,” Mr Eyes said.