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Airport master plan adopted

Geoff Helisma |

Eight councillors unanimously adopted the Clarence Valley Regional Airport Master Plan 2018 – 2033 at last week’s Clarence Valley Council (CVC) meeting.

Questions and debate about the master plan resumed after a 10-minute adjournment called by the mayor, Jim Simmons, following the rejection of Cr Greg Clancy’s motion to defer it’s adoption “and commission professional reports on the Aboriginal and ecological … significance of the south-eastern section of the site … proposed for hangar construction”.

Cr Clancy left the meeting – see Lone wolf thrown under bus story for details – and took no further part in the remainder of the meeting.

Cr Peter Ellem, seconded by Cr Simmons, tabled a motion that added to the staff’s recommendation to “note the submissions received” and to adopt the plan.

After informal discussion, Cr Ellem gained unanimous support to “advise Grafton Ngerrie Local Aboriginal Land Council in writing that [CVC] will involve the Land Council in all areas of planning and construction (only works contained within the Master Plan) … to ensure the protection of all cultural aspects relating to the site, with an independent cultural assessment prior to any development…”

Cr Baker moved an amendment to remove Cr Ellem’s Aboriginal cultural assessment point and return to the council officer’s recommendation, however, there was no seconder.

After a short period of debate, Cr Baker reiterated his position, but voted with the other councillors.

“I am forced now to say a few words,” he said.

“Council is required … to make long term [strategic] plans … for general guidance … this is merely doing what I think was started by Cr Toms: ‘let’s see if can make the airport more viable’.

“We are not approving … vegetation removal or the destruction of cultural artefacts … just doing what we are required to do.”

He said that the right time to complete any study was when a development application was lodged. “Nothing allows us to go beyond a plan on paper … the rest [